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New tax laws merit scrutiny of participants in high-asset divorces

Divorce in Illinois and elsewhere is an event of magnitude, of course, and worthy of due reflection from every conceivably relevant aspect. Many divorcing couples share at least a few core concerns, ranging from child-centric matters (e.g., custody/visitation and support) and spousal maintenance to residential property issues and equitable asset division.

For impending exes involved in a high-asset divorce, things can understandably be more involved and complex than might otherwise be the case. Yes, there is a house, but there might also be other realty to deal with, as well. Relevant support levels will logically be pegged to higher dollar amounts. Alimony could well be a topic surrounded by repeat and intense negotiations. Various retirement accounts might invite court orders and entail significant complexity regarding their full identification, valuation and division.

And then there are ever-present tax implications, a point duly stressed in a recent Forbes article underscoring new laws and their impact on divorce timing.

Those laws logically invite this inquiry from a high-asset divorce participant: Owing to several material changes slated to be effective from January 1 of next year, should I consider dissolving my marriage this year?

A key change to alimony alone might merit close consideration of that self-posed query. The central tenet of spousal maintenance that payments are deductible for the payer and treated as taxable income to the recipient will flatly cease to be in 2019. It can easily be seen how this change might reasonably trigger spousal discussion and affect divorce timing.

That is also similarly true, notes the Forbes piece, concerning a new law that reduces tax and interest deductions relevant to home ownership that will render it pricier to own a home in the future. Given that adjustment, a couple might logically want to deal with home-linked issues sooner rather than later.

Marital contracts - both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements - might also merit a dusting off, renewed scrutiny and, potentially, redrafting in light of the new tax laws. If could be the case, stresses Forbes, that "some of the items you've both already agreed to [are] moot."

High-asset divorces commonly entail multiple financial concerns of some complexity, which can be easily affected even further by adjustments in tax law. Questions or concerns can be directed to a proven family law attorney who routinely represents clients in high-money marital dissolutions.

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