Monday, October 24, 2011

Colorado Finds Dividing Military Benefits Easier Said than Done

The Colorado Court of Appeals decided that a retired serviceman must divide his temporary disability pay equally. The couple had a divorce decree that split military benefits 50/50. The serviceman recently retired and was placed on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL). The court noted that the other spouse should not be punished because the service member was required to be placed on the TDRL and not receive longevity retirement pay. If a party qualifies for longevity pay and instead receives the TDRL pay, they will be required to pay a portion of that TDRL pay.

Here in Oregon, like in Colorado, a military pension or benefit may be considered marital property for the purposes of a divorce. However, as the Colorado court found, it becomes complicated when deciding how and what exactly to split. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) also tries to give guidance by allowing state courts to order the splitting of marital pensions. Oregon courts have developed some case law in deciding where the retirement pay and disability pay land, but there is still some questions left to be answered.

As troops begin to start returning from overseas, the federal government has numerous programs and policies to help those troops financially and support them when they decide to retire. A divorce can make that process extremely complex, that’s why service members need representation from attorneys like the ones here at Gevurtz Menashe. The attorneys here make sure to stay on top of the changes that happen in Oregon and around the country to make sure at all of our clients, especially those who serve our country, know exactly what will happen with their retirement and disability compensation during a divorce.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shawn Menashe featured in DJC 'BrieflyLegal'

Shawn Menashe was featured in the most recent email edition on the Daily Journal of Commerce 'BrieflyLegal' e-Publication. "Shawn Menashe discovered author/attorney Scott Turow during law school and enjoyed reading novels such as "One L," "The Burden of Proof" and "Presumed Innocent."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nebraska Weighs in on Ordering Joint Tax Returns

The Nebraska Supreme Court recently decided that a Nebraska state court could order a couple to file joint tax returns for unfiled taxes in a divorce judgment. This has been a debated issue around the country because of the confusion over whether federal or state law governs. Generally, tax law is completely within the purview of federal law, but domestic relations are governed by state law. In Nebraska, the courts determined that state law wins out in determining whether a court can order a couple to file a joint return.

The states are fairly evenly split on this issue around the country. The courts here in Oregon have taken the opposite approach of the Nebraska courts. In 1986, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided a court could not order a couple to file a joint tax return. Matter of Marriage of Lewis, 81 Or. App. 22, 723 P.2d 1079 (1986). The Oregon court found that ordering a couple to file joint returns would violate Oregon statutes and the IRS Code. The Oregon court emphasized that the IRS Code allows for a couple to decide whether or not elect to file a joint return and a court order could not remove that right.

Tax issues can make a complex divorce even more complex. That’s why the attorneys at Gevurtz Menashe are trained to look at every last aspect of a divorce, including tax consequences. You want an attorney on your side that will explain every detail of the divorce to you and be with you for every step.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Best Lawyers 2012!, a recognized online attorney directory, has again made their choices of 'best lawyers' for 2012. Five of our attorneys are highlighted as "Best Lawyers": Albert Menashe, Eric Larson, William Howe, Julia Hagan, and Zach Fruchtengarten . This honor, chosen by outsiders to the firm, affirms the community recognition of our talented attorneys! Well done!

Massachusetts Takes a Hard Look at Spousal Support

Massachusetts drastically reforms their spousal support laws. Two weeks ago Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the Alimony Reform Act into law in Massachusetts. It is intended to instill more clarity and certainty for divorcing couples, but it contains an array of definitions, limits, and formulas that may have some unintended consequences. Family law attorneys in Massachusetts are torn about the new legislation. Some celebrated it because it gives predictability and consistency to legal decision, but others called it Draconian and mean-spirited because of limits on a judge’s ability to create a spousal support plan tailored to the individual needs and requirements of a divorcing couple.

Oregon’s lawmakers will be watching the consequences of the Massachusetts law as they continue to look at their own spousal support laws. There are some laws being proposed at the Oregon legislature that have similar requirements as the Massachusetts law. Like the Massachusetts law, Senate Bill 512 would terminate spousal support upon death, remarriage, or cohabitation. The Oregon Legislature will be looking at what happens in Massachusetts when weighing Senate Bill 512.

Massachusetts has made some pretty big moves in their spousal support law and the lawyers here at Gevurtz Menashe will continue to watch what happens in Massachusetts and around the country. We at Gevurtz Menashe continue to stay on top of the trends in family law to stay ahead of the curve and represent our clients with the most innovate arguments.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall 2011 Family Law Update Newsletter Is Here!

The latest news from Oregon and SW Washington's Family Law Experts is here! Our main article is regarding an interesting change in inheritance. We then hear from Bob Demary re-joining the firm, and Robin Wright becoming a Shareholder. We move on to introduce Associate Tiffany Jensen, Super Lawyers 2011, Golf Clinic Networking Event, Peas and Thank You Event, and finally our Race for the Cure Team. You can view our newsletter HERE.