Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

Honolulu Family Law Blog

Divorce, taxes and custody: What parents need to know

The ability to claim your children as your dependents is one of the most significant tax breaks that parents have, especially once you factor in things like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). However, that seemingly straightforward process can become complicated once you're divorced.

Here are some important facts to remember about claiming your children as your dependents after divorce:

Asking for sole custody? Here's why you should reconsider.

Are you seeking sole custody of your child after your divorce? Custody is a big "hot button" issue for a lot of divorcing parents, and it isn't very unusual for one parent to seek to exclude the other from custody for any number of reasons. Before you join their ranks, however, those who have had a front-line view of numerous custody battles say that you need to reconsider.

Here's why many attorneys recommend that you don't press for sole custody of your children without a compelling reason:

  1. Sole custody doesn't mean you can cut the other parent out of your child's life. Absent unusual circumstances, your ex-spouse is still likely to have regular visitation.
  2. You have to surrender all your control over the situation to the court. Once the case goes to court, this could backfire on you, and you could actually lose your custody rights.
  3. You'll face a lot of intrusions. In a custody battle, your entire life can end up under a microscope. You may have to meet with psychologists, family therapists, court-appointed guardians and more.
  4. You may be able to accomplish your real goals much more easily. If you're really concerned about something like the ability to direct your child's education, you may be able to negotiate that right in the custody agreement.
  5. A custody battle is expensive -- and long. A fierce custody battle can wage on for years and drive you into debt. That money may be better spent on your children's education and other needs.
  6. You may be hurting your children. Children crave the love and affection of both of their parents. How are you going to explain your decision to try to cut them off from their other parent?

Marriage, divorce and money in Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places in the nation to live -- and also one of the most expensive. Everything from housing to the price of milk can be more expensive than it is on the mainland.

Does the state's cost of living affect the way that residents marry, live and -- quite often -- divorce? Many people think that it does.

Parental alienation and its effects on children

What kind of parent purposely ruins the relationship a child has with their other, perfectly loving parent?

It's called parental alienation, and it happens when one parent's hatred for the other one is greater than their love for the child involved. The alienating parent essentially uses the child as a pawn in a game that's designed to hurt the other parent as much as possible. Both mothers and fathers can be on the receiving end of this kind of treatment -- although the child ends up being the biggest victim of all.

Don't let a false claim of domestic violence ruin your life

Could you fall victim to a false claim of domestic violence? It happens more often than many people realize.

When relationships go well, few believe that their partner or spouse would falsely accuse them of anything. When a relationship sours, however, people are often taken by surprise at just how "low" the other party will go. An argument where you tossed a file across the room in frustration or grabbed your spouse's arm to get their attention is suddenly exaggerated in court, amplified by your spouse's anger and imagination. The next thing you know, you're slapped with a protective order.

How do you know if it's time to get divorced?

Is it time to end your marriage, or is there still hope that your marriage can recover from whatever is wrong with it?

Not all marital woes are equivalent. Some can be healed just through better communication, while others may take a lot of work. Some, unfortunately, probably can't be healed at all. Here are some of the signs that therapists say indicate that it's time for a couple to divorce:

Denied visitation? Preserve your relationship and rights

Is your child's other parent denying you appropriate visitation with your children? Despite the fact that it's important for children to maintain a relationship with both their parents whenever possible, custodial parents will sometimes see fit to deprive non-custodial parents of their visitation rights.

Sometimes it is done out of revenge for a real or perceived wrong, sometimes it is done as "punishment" of sorts for failing to meet the custodial parent's demands. In still other instances, it's simply because the custodial parent is overprotective, unwilling to compromise or unwilling to be inconvenienced.

Retirement and child support

Retirement usually means a reduction in your income -- and that can be a serious problem if you still have a child support obligation that's likely to go on for the next few years.

Here are some of the things that you need to consider before you decide if retirement is an option.

The Internet of Things and domestic violence

The Internet of Things (IoT) is more of a reality than ever as lights, security cameras, doors, cars and entire homes are becoming connected and controllable with a flick of a button or a few voice commands. For some women, the IoT is also the latest way that their abusers have found to victimize them further.

Known as "smart abuse," it's the sort of technologically enabled harassment that wouldn't have been possible only a few years ago. However, abusers now have the ability to use web-connected devices like smart speakers and surveillance equipment to manipulate, terrorize and control their victims. Even when a victim leaves an abuser, a clever abuser can find technological ways to continually invade the privacy of the victim.

$700 million art collection up for auction due to divorce

The longer a couple is married, the more they tend to acquire together -- so it's hardly surprising that the billionaire developer Harry Macklowe and his wife had amassed a lot of assets in their 57 years together.

However, those years have come to a bitter end. The couple's divorce has become so acrimonious that they can't find a middle ground on the value of their massive art collection in order to fairly split the assets. The judge in their divorce case -- which has gone to litigation -- has ordered a large part of the collection sold at auction and the proceeds divided.

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