The new tax reform bill (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1), which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, eliminates (http://money.cnn.com/2017/12/15/pf/taxes/alimony-tax-bill/index.html) the tax deduction for alimony payments for separation agreements and divorces obtained after December 31, 2018.
In contested custody cases where a child rejects contact with a parent, the rejected parent often accuses the aligned parent of engaging in alienating behaviors that are intended to sever the attachment between the child and the rejected parent.
I recently came across Edward Kruk, PhD's article in Psychology Today entitled "Equal Parenting and the Quality of Parent-Child Attachments." The article summarizes research on parenting plans that I have found useful in support of some clients' requests for equal parenting time (R. Bauserman, "A meta-analysis of parental satisfaction, adjustment and conflict in joint custody and sole custody following divorce," Journal of Divorce and Remarriage ; W.V. Fabricius, "Parenting time, parent conflict, parent-child relationships, and children's physical health," Parenting Plan Evaluations: Applied Research for the Family Court ).
One of the main issues facing divorcing and separating parents is to establish a parenting plan when each party provides care and custody for his or her children. There are a number of different parenting plans that can be negotiated or ordered. Under any such plan, the challenge is for one parent to respect the parenting time of the other parent. Often, one parent wants what is called a "right of first refusal." This is when the parent who is not scheduled to have the children is under a contractual right to receive notice from the parent who has the children, but is unable to parent during any specific period of scheduled parenting time. Under those particular circumstances, the parent who is scheduled to be with the children must notify the other parent that he or she is unable to parent for one reason or another and offer the other parent the opportunity to have additional parenting time. This would be in lieu of asking a babysitter, family member or friend to step in and provide childcare during those periods.
Louis C.K., one of my favorite standup comics, and the star of the FX series, "Louie," has a serious side. It stems in part from his experience as a divorced dad of two young girls and the effective co-parenting relationship that he has with their mother.
I recently attended the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). AFCC was founded in 1963, and now consists of more than 4,600 members, representing 49 states and 27 countries worldwide. Members include judges, court employees, private practice lawyers, mental health and dispute resolution professionals, policy advocates, policymakers, researchers, community agencies, academics and students. The association's work focuses on a wide range of topics of interest to a family law attorney such as mediation, custody evaluation, parent education, and parenting coordination. For the past 50 years, AFCC has been the leading interdisciplinary organization addressing the challenges of separation and divorce, and, in particular, the impact on children and families. I returned from this year's annual conference in Los Angeles with a wealth of information.
The Bachelor Party. In the UK, it's known as "Stag Night"; in France, "enterrement de vie de garcon" - literally, "burial/funeral of the life as a bachelor." For grooms-to-be across the globe, it is a time honored tradition, and in the US, Las Vegas is commonly known as the ideal destination for this debaucherous weekend of gambling, drinking and good-natured hazing. Perhaps thanks to the oft-uttered mantra of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", most bachelors return home no worse for the wear. For others, however, "what happened in Vegas" has resulted in damaged or broken marriages, and one Massachusetts husband will be paying the price for his misdeeds in cold hard cash.