Law Office of Kevin Jensen - February 2020

Valentine’s Lessons

With Valentine’s Day approaching, stores are filled with chocolates, stuffed animals, and cards for significant others. Love is in the air! Even though you may not realize it, your kids may also be feeling the pressure. Crushes, dates, and broken hearts are part of their lives, too, but they may struggle to talk with you about it. Thankfully, developmental experts have weighed in on how to approach these important and delicate conversations. No Laughing Matter Judith Myers-Walls, professor emeritus of child development at Purdue, urges parents not to treat their kids’ crushes as silly. We may know these early expressions of love aren’t that serious in the long run, but to an adolescent, the emotions are very powerful. “They are very easily embarrassed about those feelings,” Myers-Walls observes, “so parents and other adults should be respectful and not tease about those issues.” Rather than make kids feel ashamed of these early romantic feelings, let them know you’re there to talk to them about it. Respecting Others Dr. David Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, believes it’s especially important to talk to adolescents about respecting boundaries. “One of the big lessons we want to be sending to kids at any Talking to Your Adolescent About Relationships

age is that there are two people to consider,” he writes, explaining that adolescents tend to only focus on their own feelings and need to learn to consider how their crush may feel about them. This awareness might prevent them from overstepping someone else’s comfort zone. Respecting Themselves At the same time, kids and teens should know the importance of respecting their own feelings. Setting boundaries can be especially important when your child is confronted with an unwanted Valentine’s Day card or request for a date and feels pressured to reciprocate. “Boundary setting is imperative to learn during adolescence because it is a time of identity formation,” writes Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell in Psychology Today. “Healthy boundaries allow teens to feel respected, valued, and empowered to build positive relationships in their lives.” It also helps them handle uncomfortable social situations with grace and maturity. Crushes and first dates are a part of growing up, as is learning how to contribute to healthy relationships. Much like a first step or learning to drive, patient, loving parental support makes all the difference.

Amid the New Year celebrations and preparing for the end of winter, it can be easy to forget the start of another season the new year ushers in: tax season. Just the thought of taxes is enough to make us groan, but it’s important to remember how this season can impact you as your life changes. Your taxes shift as you move, receive a pay rise, buy a home, have children, get married, and, ultimately, if you divorce. Tax Time

The Big Ways Divorce Impacts Your Taxes

Whether you’re recently divorced or undergoing the process, understanding how divorce impacts your tax status is important as you continue to build your life after separation. You will have to update your W-4 form, which is a form filled out by an employee regarding the amount of money they would like withheld from paychecks, since you will no longer have to consider spousal income and joint filings. When children are involved, filing taxes after divorce can become a bit more complex. The parent who is considered the custodial parent can claim the children as dependents, whereas the noncustodial parent cannot. In addition, the noncustodial parent cannot claim to be the head of the household, which is a tax-filing exemption that can aid those who are filing singularly. However, with the signature of the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent can file Form 8332, which can help the parent receive Child Tax Credits. If you are in the process of divorcing or are recently divorced, consulting with a tax expert for your 2020 filing will ensure you meet the necessary requirements and receive the benefits you are owed.

However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) only cares about your marital status as of Dec. 31, 2019, for the 2020 tax season. If you are still in the process of divorcing, the IRS considers you married for the 2020 tax season. You will still have to file taxes jointly or joint filing separately. If you divorced in 2019, you will have to file separately, and you may have additional aspects from your divorce to consider when filing. With the recent change to the Tax Code, alimony payments are no longer deductible for the payor for divorces finalized after Dec. 31, 2018. Child support payments also continue not to be tax deductible.

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