February 2013 Archives

American Taxpayer Relief Act and Your Santa Rosa Divorce

February 26, 2013, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

Uncle Sam Taxes.jpegWith the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) on January 1, 2013, the United States avoided the financial abyss of the much-feared "fiscal cliff."

Do You Understand How the ATRA Is Going to Affect Your divorce in 2013?

If you're seeking alimony, your spousal support is taxable (this isn't new). However, if once you become a single filer and you earn $400,000 or more annually, your tax rate will increase under ATRA from 35% to 39.6%

Whether you command a high salary or not, you will want to discuss with your lawyer the balance between spousal support and child support. Unlike spousal support, child support isn't taxable so you may negotiate a higher child support payment and lower spousal support allotments.

Another alternative for spouses entitled to alimony is to receive a lump sum payment. By accepting a one-time payment in lieu of monthly spousal support, you can avoid taxes.
If you are paying spousal support monthly, the payments are deductible. However, if you settle on a lump-sum payment, you will not receive a deduction on your taxes.

Your Investments, Capital Gains and Retirement Funds

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What Happens When Your Debt is Purchased?

February 19, 2013, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

images.jpgThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives more complaints about debt collectors, including debt buyers, than about any other single industry.

The Problems with Debt Buying

What is debt buying? It occurs when companies purchase a creditor's debt and then tries to collect the amount owed. Debt purchasing can be a lucrative business, with companies known to purchase debt for just a few cents on the dollar.

For consumers, debt buying can become a nightmare. There are cases in which debt collectors seek to recover funds from the wrong consumer for an erroneous amount.

In 2009, the FTC studied the issue by obtaining information from nine of the largest debt buyers that together amassed 76.1% of all debt sold in 2008.

As part of the study, the FTC studied 5,000 portfolios containing nearly 90 million consumer accounts. Although the accounts were worth $143 billion, debt buying companies purchased the debt for $6.5 billion. Credit card debt accounted for 62% of the portfolios.

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Is Facebook Safe? It might Not Be for Your Teen

February 12, 2013, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

internetSafety3_frame.jpgIn 2008, the Illinois legislature enacted a law authored by state Sen. John Waterman barring most registered sex offenders from using Facebook or other social networking sites. The law was challenged and upheld by a district court in June 2012.

Displeased with that court's decision, the ACLU of Indiana filed an appeal. The 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago in late January overturned the lower court's decision and ruled that the Indiana law was unconstitutional.

Sen. Waterman has stated he will pursue new measures to protect children online from the dangers of sexual predators.

Sex Offenders Fight Back

Sex offenders have organized legal battles, fighting for their right to be online. They were successful in February 2012 when a federal judge in Louisiana struck down a state law barring sex offenders from using Facebook and other social media on First Amendment grounds.

Efforts to restrict sex offenders across the U.S. seem to reach the same obstacle.

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U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Gay Marriage in March

February 5, 2013, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone

Prop 8.jpgIn March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases that could have a profound effect on same-sex marriages in California and across the country.

Status of California's Proposition 8

One case is close to home. In 2008, Californians approved Proposition 8, which added a new provision to the State Constitution that state "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Proposition 8 was quickly appealed and the outcome of the case rests with the U.S. Supreme Court, which will issue a ruling in June. The issue in this case is whether Americans have a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

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