Attorney Scott Tzinberg Educates Divorcing Couples On What To Expect In 2018

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If a case is finalized before December 31, 2018, any maintenance provisions will be grandfathered into the prior IRS category of deductible and taxable income.

Divorce is fraught with not only emotion, but legal challenges. In order to educate divorcing couples on what to expect in 2018, family law attorney Scott Tzinberg, founder and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Scott Tzinberg, examines the following three changes in the law that will impact divorce matters:

No. 1: Modifications to maintenance (alimony) guidelines. Effective January 1, 2018, maintenance guidelines, set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, have been tweaked. The guidelines formally applied only to cases where the combined gross income of the parties was $250,000 or less. The threshold has now been increased to $500,000. The guidelines for determining the duration of maintenance have also been adjusted. Prior to the update, the duration of maintenance was evaluated based on 5-year blocks of time (i.e., 1-5 years, 5-10 years). The update now calculates the duration based on a year-to-year basis.    

“This makes the duration of maintenance more equitable,” said Tzinberg, who has handled hundreds of contested divorce, child custody and other family law matters.

No. 2: Tax bill. The final version of the GOP tax plan eliminates the tax deduction for alimony payments. It also eliminates alimony received as taxable income. This change will apply to any case finalized after December 31, 2018. The tax implications related to maintenance (alimony) often provided an opportunity for judges, lawyers and litigants to be creative when discussing settlement. “Eliminating this option could make divorces more drawn-out and expensive,” added Tzinberg. “If a case is finalized before December 31, 2018, any maintenance provisions will be grandfathered into the prior IRS category of deductible and taxable income.”

No. 3: Custody of pets. Effective January 1, 2018, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was amended to specifically address companion animals (an animal that is commonly considered to be, or is considered by the owner to be, a pet) in divorce cases.

“Under the new amendments, you will be able to seek temporary sole or joint possession of a pet while your divorce case is pending. You can also move for sole or joint responsibility for the pet,” concluded Tzinberg. “The new amendments ensure that pets will be taken care of during and after a divorce.”

About Scott Tzinberg, Law Offices of Scott Tzinberg
Scott Tzinberg concentrates his practice on family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity and other family law-related issues. The Law Offices of Scott Tzinberg handles cases throughout Cook, Lake, and DuPage Counties. For more information, please call (312) 332-0966, or visit The law office is located at 20 N. Clark Street, Suite 3300, Chicago, IL 60602.

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