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Pension examined in Nevada alimony ruling

A woman has claimed that her ex-husband’s pension should be added to his alimony obligations even though it wasn’t part of the original divorce settlement. The Nevada Supreme Court will examine that claim, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

The court will hear both sides of the story of the Doan divorce. Craig Doan claims that for seven years he has fulfilled his alimony obligations to his ex-wife, but when Catherine Doan believed she also needed 50 percent of his pension, the ex-husband put his foot down. This figure was not included in the divorce decree, and Craig Doan filed an appeal.

According to the publication, the court is considering this case because it has “statewide interest” and could affect similar situations in the future.

The news source stated that, in court documents, Craig Doan said that “to take away a portion of my pension now would ruin me financially,” particularly after he stated that his ex-wife received their car and home in the divorce, as well as more than $1,100 in monthly alimony.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers are working to reform the state’s alimony system to establish guidelines for a number of payment issues, including the duration of payments, according to WAMC.

Alimony tips when it comes to tax time

Alimony payments are an important factor when it comes to filing taxes, as this money can affect the tax return for both the payer and the recipient, according to Cincinnati.com’s BusinessWise.

For the person paying the alimony, these payments can offer some relief on annual tax returns because alimony can be counted as a tax deduction. However, the person receiving the alimony must also report it accurately to ensure that the recipient is claiming the income is received.

Any mistakes on a tax return regarding alimony, may it be a failure to report alimony received or forgetting to put the Social Security number of the alimony recipient, can result in an IRS audit. In addition, the IRS could potentially disallow the alimony paid deduction.

According to MSN Money, tax codes are different for alimony and child support, so it is important to make the correct distinction on tax forms. Payments for alimony are considered tax deductions for the payer and taxable income for the payee, while child support payments are tax-neutral transfers, meaning they are not tax-deductible nor do they count as income.

House proposes amendment to Mass. alimony reform

Two Republican members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives plan to file an amendment to the state’s alimony reform bill that would allow judges to halt or reduce payments in cases already settled under current law, according to the State House News Service.

The legislation would only affect merged cases, which are alimony cases the court retains jurisdiction over indefinitely. In those cases, judges have the authority to revise alimony payments even years after a divorce is finalized. Parties can also opt for agreeing to the terms of their divorce as final, known as “survives with independent legal significance,” which prevents judges from modifying their decisions at a later date.

The amendment, set to be submitted by Representatives Sheila Harrington of Groton and Daniel Winslow of Norfolk, would allow state courts to adjust or stop payments in all alimony cases.

Known as the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011, the overall bill would alter how alimony payments are determined by Bay State authorities and place a cap on payments based on the duration of a marriage. The bill received initial approval from the House earlier this month.

The Boston Business Journal reports that if passed, the alimony reform bill would likely lower the cost of divorce proceedings and make it easier for divorce attorneys to advice their clients in those cases.

Mass. House to tackle alimony reform

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has given initial approval of legislation that would overhaul the state’s alimony system, according to the State House News Service.

Rep. Paul Donato, who presided over the House session in question, said the government body would likely hold a formal session next week to debate the proposed changes in the bill. Under the legislation, state law would lay out specific guidelines on the levels and duration of alimony payments to former spouses, the news service reports.

The bill, which currently has 133 co-sponsors from both parties, would establish a timeline for alimony payments, basing them on the duration of the marriage. For instance, in the case of a divorcing couple married for five years or less, the person receiving alimony would get payment for half the number of months of the union. For a 10- to 15-year marriage, the source reports judges would award payment for between 60 to 70 percent of the number of months a couple was married. It would be up to a judge’s discretion to determine how much alimony is due for a marriage surpassing 20 years.

There were 21,232 divorce filings in Massachusetts in 2009, according to Massachusetts Alimony Reform, resulting in 16,289 cases of alimony modification. The website stated that alimony modifications accounted for almost 30 percent of all Massachusetts Family and Probate Court cases in 2008.

Man erects billboard protesting alimony law

A Florida man has erected a billboard protesting the state’s permanent alimony requirements after he was ordered to pay his ex-wife nearly $1,000 per month for the foreseeable future, according to The Ledger.

Steve Hoye told the newspaper his former wife initiated a divorce that became final in 2007 and now must pay her $960 a month in alimony. Hoye said he has gone into debt as a result of the obligation and related court costs, inspiring him to construct a 4-foot-by-8-foot sign on his property reading “STOP PERMANENT ALIMONY”.

“The Florida court system has its hooks in me for the rest of my life, as long as my (ex-)wife is alive,” said Hoye, who is also the Polk County representative for Florida Alimony Reform.

The group claims that 8 percent of the nation’s alimony payers live in the Sunshine State. It advocates implementing a stricter set of guidelines regarding alimony awards, such as setting a maximum percentage of income that is paid and ending lifetime obligation, the newspaper reports.

Some states have taken steps to change what some consider to be outdated alimony laws. In Massachusetts, lawmakers recently proposed an alimony reform bill that would allow judges to base awards on financial need and would end required payments for long-term marriages at retirement age.