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Florida Family Lawyers – Child Tax Credit and Alimony

Originally published in the May/June 2021 edition of Res Ipsa Loquitur

Florida Family Lawyers beware. The recently passed “American Rescue Plan”, more commonly called simply “The 2021 Stimulus Bill”, has provisions that may affect calculations for child support. Because of this impact, you should be mindful of claims for tax exemptions and child tax credit. This will be especially true for tax year 2021. The new law increases the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child. Additionally, in previous tax years, children had to be under the age of 17 at year-end to qualify, but for 2021, the age is 18. For children under 6 years old, the credit can be an additional $600, for a total of $3,600. For 2021 only, the credit is refundable for people with no income. Previously, people with income below $2,500 received nothing. Be aware of these changes, and consider insisting on “odd year” receipt of child tax credits for your client in your next marital settlement agreement.

Potter v Potter, a recent 1st District case at 46 Fla. L. Weekly D573, contains somewhat unusual facts. These facts however, are not outside the realm of possibility to encounter in day to day practice. The Potters were married for nine years, divorced in 2009, and then remarried less than a year later. They remained married the second time for eight more years, during which time their children grew up and their economic situation improved. The issue was whether to count the marriage as an eight year marriage or as a 17 year marriage for purposes of alimony. While there was a dissenting opinion, the majority ruled that it was appropriate in order “to do equity” between the parties, where there was marital misconduct on the part of the husband, and where the Wife supported the Husband through veterinary school, to consider both marriages as one for purposes of alimony.

Family Law word of the month: Leman, noun. A secret sweetheart; an illicit lover, especially a mistress. This word, pronounced like the yellow citrus fruit, would come in handy in depositions, when you’ve overused “paramour” and “girlfriend”.

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