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Month: October 2017

October 2017

What is the Tax Dependency Exemption and Who Should Get It?

The federal government allows taxpayers to exclude from their income an exemption amount for each person who is a dependent of the taxpayer for that taxable year. You can claim a tax dependency exemption if you are a parent who provides support to a dependent minor child. But what happens after divorce when you no longer file joint returns? In Nebraska, the tax dependency exemption is considered an economic benefit similar to an award of child support or alimony. If the parents do not agree how the exemption should be allocated, the judge hearing the divorce case has the power
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Halloween is one of my favorite nights of the year.  Particularly when it lands on a cool, windy evening and you can hear the leaves crunching and rustling underfoot as the children laugh up and down the sidewalks before shouting “trick or treat” at doorsteps.  I enjoy the occasional whiffs through the air of burning pumpkin and the taste of the crispy Kit Kat that I inevitably steal from one of my daughters’ treat bags by the end of the night. What I do not enjoy about Halloween is the feeling of being scared.  I would no more willingly walk
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TRICARE Health Insurance Coverage and Divorce

While all divorces are challenging, military service presents unique and complex issues for service members and their families to navigate. Whether the former spouse of a service member may retain health insurance coverage through TRICARE is one. TRICARE is a health care program for uniformed service members and their families.  Depending on several requirements and criteria, it may be possible for divorced spouses to remain covered under TRICARE and receive the same benefits as the service member. TRICARE Coverage under the “20-20-20” Rule: If the service member has completed at least 20 years of creditable service, the spouses were married
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Going to Court

“Going to court” can mean many different things during the divorce process. You may have to go to court for a hearing, a pre-trial conference, or trial. Sometimes it is permissible for your attorney to appear on your behalf without the need for you to go. Sometimes the judge will want to hear you testify. Sometimes the judge will read your sworn statement and listen to the lawyers’ arguments in order to make a decision. The thought of going to court can be anxiety-provoking. The fear of the unknown may set in. It is important to communicate with your attorney
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A Cinderella Story

I was hovered over the toilet scrubbing with my magic wand – the toilet brush.  Sophia, then 6, paused at the top of the stairs next to the bathroom door and peered in at me.  Sheer delight spread across her face.  “Mom! Are we playing Cinderella?” she asked with enthusiasm.  I wiped a bit of sweat from my forehead, “What??”  She seemed as confused as I was.  “No, I am not playing Cinderella.  I am cleaning the bathroom.”  “Oh,” she sighed dejectedly and walked away to her room. I sat back on the white tile floor and leaned my back
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Your First Legal Documents: Why You Might Be Surprised About the Allegations or Requests in your Spouse’s Court Documents.

Sometimes clients are surprised by what their spouse asks for in the initial documents filed in a divorce.  These documents, known as “pleadings” are filed with the court and state the legal basis for the cause along with the requests of each party. In a divorce, the first pleading filed is the complaint for dissolution of marriage.  The divorce complaint is signed by the person initiating the divorce process, and then filed with the clerk of the district court to begin the divorce process.  The complaint for dissolution of marriage will set forth in general terms what the plaintiff (the
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Lay Me Down

The mood was somber.  Every Monday morning we take 15 minutes to check in with each other.  All of my co-workers gather and we look at the week ahead.  This week we all woke to the horror that happened in Las Vegas Sunday night.  Our hearts were heavy and our minds distracted as we felt ourselves lapsing into the “what if” questions that come to the forefront when facing tragedy.  One of our paralegals had been in Vegas the weekend prior.  All of us have been to an outdoor concert or public event.  None of us know whether we, or
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What Does “Best Interests of the Child” Mean?

Parents involved in custody actions are eager to know how a judge will decide custody of their children. The Nebraska Parenting Act provides that the paramount concern in any decision regard custody, parenting time, or other child-related issues is what is in the minor child’s best interests. This standard is simply known as the “best interests of the child” standard. It is a child-focused approach to making decisions that affect the well-being of the child. Nebraska law provides a non-exhaustive list of factors that a court may consider when determining what is in the best interests of the child. For
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