Law Office of Kevin Jensen - February 2020

February 2020 480.632.7373

The Gift of a Day The Big Lesson Bill Murray and Harold Ramis Teach Us in a Cinematic Classic

I can still remember the first time I saw the Bill Murray and Harold Ramis classic, “Groundhog Day.” I was still in high school, and I was visiting my sister at BYU over the summer. The movie wasn’t too old at the time, but it wasn’t a fresh release either. Still, the Varsity Theater — this quaint little theater that would show discounted movies months after the release date in Provo, Utah — was showing “Groundhog Day.” As a teenager, it was just a funny film. I still believe Bill Murray nailed his role as TV weatherman Phil Connors, who is stuck in a repeating loop of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, over and over again. I still watch it and laugh to this day. (I’d like to personally shout out director Harold Ramis, who is no longer with us, whose comedic and cinematic genius continues to live on.) When I was at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, I could relate to some of Phil’s frustrations of feeling in a rut. You spend your days alternating between classes and eating as you prepare for a two- year mission; you don’t experience much else. But it wasn’t until I was older that I began to understand the larger themes at play. Phil spends years reliving Groundhog Day over and over again until he finally gets the “… while 24 hours may not seem like much, it’s still one whole extra day we are gifted throughout this special year. As Phil Connors learned, what we do with that day — and the other 365 — really matters.”

day right and learns how to become a better person.

It may seem hard to believe, but I try to take the lessons from “Groundhog Day” and apply them to my life. Attorneys have a bad rap as bloodsuckers who just want money

from their clients, but I don’t take my job lightly. Every day, I meet people who are in the middle of a difficult situation, and while I can’t make all their issues go away, I can give them the tools to find the right path. I can provide sound advice and make them feel at ease with the situation they are in. This is something I try to pass onto others too. I teach my kids the value of being a good person by helping our neighbors with yard work or catching up with neighbors when you see them outside. I also mentor 16–17-year-old men through my church, and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to connect with my community in this way. I’ve been thinking about these actions this year as we prepare to celebrate leap day. Every four years, we are gifted an extra day, and while 24 hours may not seem like much, it’s still one whole extra day we are gifted throughout this special year. As Phil Connors learned, what we do with that day — and the other 365 — really matters. For me, the gift of an extra day means I get more time to spend with my family. Maybe I will work on a science project with my kids or play their favorite games and do a puzzle. In the evening, I’d love to get dinner with my wife. Regardless of what I do, the gift of another day means I can build those relationships with those who mean the most to me. As we approach leap day, it can be easy to think of it as just another day of the year. But when you consider what the value of one whole day can be, suddenly Feb. 29 has a whole new meaning. What will you do with your day?

-Brandon Yost



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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.


Remember These Tips Before You Go Planning to Move Away With The Kids?

modified. The court will always favor the least disruptive solution possible, starting from whatever the current visitation status quo is.

Divorce can often prompt new and important developments in our lives: relationships, jobs, and

places to live, possibly outside Arizona. These new things can be incredibly exciting, and we often want to get started on them right away. However, if you have kids, it isn’t that simple to begin a new chapter of your life in another place after a divorce. More often than not, the court perceives moving as an upheaval in the children’s lives, even if it’s to another county or school

Even if you’re the primary caretaker, it’s not a simple decision to relocate yourself with your children. With either sole or joint custody, you’ll have to file a “move-away order,” which the other parent will have a chance to object since it might sacrifice their time with the kids. If you have sole custody and the noncustodial parent objects, then you might also have to argue your case in court.

A divorce or separation can be a traumatic experience for a child, and the possibility of moving away from a parent can be even more emotionally straining. A great way to reach a good outcome is by negotiating with your ex-spouse. Child custody mediation may be a good option, as an impartial third party is trained to help people resolve difficult issues. Mediators can identify and resolve details that you may have not considered while filing for relocation, such as transportation for the children after they get new school schedules. Arranging your family’s relocation can be a long process, and it’s good to get started as soon as you can if you’re aware of it as a high possibility. If you need help with the next step of your life after divorce, don’t hesitate to call us at 480.632.7373.

district. You’ll need a court order to do so, especially if the co-parent objects. Any

custody or visitation order is an official command of the court, detailing the times and places a parent has the legal right to see their children. Any conflict with that schedule needs to be brought to court so it can be

Easy Shrimp Scampi


Make date night simple with this easy shrimp scampi recipe.


• 4 tbsp butter • 4 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp minced garlic • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined • 1/2 tsp oregano

• 1/2 cup dry white wine • 1/4 cup lemon juice • 8 oz cooked linguine • 1/4 cup parsley

directions 1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Inspired by The Blond Cook



3740 E. Southern Ave., #210 Mesa, AZ 85206


Lessons Learned from ‘Groundhog Day’

Crushes, Valentine’s, and Parenting

Your Taxes and Divorce

Relocating With Kids After Divorce

Give the Gift of Life

Feb. 14 is National Donor Day

Join a Donor Dash.

With all the cards, chocolates, and expensive dinners, it’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. However, National Donor Day also falls on Feb. 14, and it can refocus our attention back on the real meaning of the day: love. In the U.S., 20 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant. Losing loved ones is one of the most painful aspects of the human experience, and while it is unavoidable, organ donation offers a pathway to help prevent that loss and keep more love in the world. In the spirit of that love, here are a few ways you can get involved with National Donor Day this Feb. 14. Register as an organ donor. Signing yourself up is easy and can be done either online or in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need official identification to register. Registration is not permanent and you will always have the option to change your mind. Once registered, you will not need to carry your donor card with you, as your status exists in the registry.

Donor Dash fundraising events pop up all over the country on National Donor Day. These noncompetitive 5K running and walking events are designed to bring donors and recipients together and keep hope alive for those who are currently waiting for a donation. To learn more, or to register for an event, check out Participate in #StartTheConversation. Donor Alliance, a nonprofit that works to promote organ donation, began the #StartTheConversation campaign as a way to help spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. Starting the conversation can be as simple as sharing that you registered with your friends and family or as personal as sharing a story about how organ donation has touched your life or the lives of your loved ones. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day come and go in a tide of cellophane, candy hearts, and cheesy cards. This year, get involved in National Donor Day. After all, what better way is there to express the value of love than giving the gift of life?


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