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Our Recipe For A Successful Marriage After You Retire

Posted On: January 18, 2022

As the Pandemic changed things for married people (spending more time with one another than they previously did working outside the home), likewise, the onset of retirement often creates the same situation.  When couples have had somewhat independent lives through their work life and being away from home, they find that spending 24/7 with one another creates difficulties in a marriage, whether it be retirement or as a result of a pandemic.

This article discusses a recipe for success to keep a marriage healthy after you have retired.  One of the important things cited by this article, is making sure you give each other time and the space to have independent time alone. Another key is to respect one another and openly communicate. 

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Louisa Rogers, travelawaits(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

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54 Years After Loving: Is Interracial Marriage a SCOTUS Issue Again?

Posted On: January 10, 2022

It's hard to believe that after 54 years of the Supreme Court's Decision in Loving v Virginia that interracial marriage may be an issue before the Supreme Court yet again.  I guess in the last five years we have seen more hatred of different segments of our society expressed, including the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as LGBTQ rights.   Many may not remember, but it used to be illegal to transport a woman across state lines for purposes of a personal relationship or to interracially marry. 

It seems the antipathy towards interracial marriage is now arising once again.  There is not a case to overturn interracial marriage, but this article is written by the Civil Rights Attorney who co-represented the interracial couple in the landmark case of Loving v Virginia. He speaks about a case that is currently before the Supreme Court in which a severely mentally ill black man suffering from schizophrenia and psychosis is on trial for murdering his estranged wife and children.  His wife was white, and their children are products of their interracial marriage.  The Jurors who decided that case were asked their views on interracial marriage and people of different races having children.  According to the Supreme Court Petition, three Jurors expressed opposition to one or both of these issues.  One Juror said I don’t believe God intended for this and another said we should stay with our blood line.  The third stated that interracial marriage was harmful for children as they did not have a specific race to belong to. 

I, as many others thought, that this country had evolved beyond these archaic views.  54 years ago, the Trial Court that imposed the criminal penalty on the Lovings’ actually stated Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents.  And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage.  The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.  I find this quotation and statement absolutely astounding now as well as then., but the law that created criminality for interracial marriages was based on purported justifications of “racial integrity” and preventing the “corruption of blood” themes that still echo through the Jurors' statements in the case now being sent to the Supreme Court.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Philip Hirschkop, Civil Rights Attorney, Bloomberglaw(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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Sarah Weddington, Lawyer Who Argued Roe v. Wade, Dies At 76

Posted On: January 04, 2022

This past holiday season we lost another female icon for women’s rights, Sarah Weddington, a minister’s daughter who became a Texas lawyer, and who, at 26, successfully argued the landmark abortion rights case of Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court, died this past Sunday at the age of 76.

She actually argued Roe v Wade before the High Court twice.  Once in December 1971 and again in October 1972, which ultimately resulted in the next year’s 7 to 2 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.  Only a few years after graduating law school, which shows extreme bravery itself, she and her former classmate, Linda Coffee, brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of a pregnant woman (Jane Roe), challenging a state law that largely banned abortions in Texas.  It was brought against the then Dallas County District Attorney, Henry Wade.  As we all know this case ultimately led to the Supreme Court.

Oddly enough, Weddington’s death, some 50 years later, comes as the Supreme Court is facing challenges to the historic case of Roe v Wade.  Currently the Supreme Court is considering a case over Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.  This case is widely considered to be the most serious challenge in years to Roe v. Wade.  

Ms. Weddington was very active in politics.   She was a state law maker in the Texas House of Representatives, before becoming general counsel of the US Department of Agriculture and later worked as an advisor on women’s issues to President Jimmy Carter. 

She wrote a book on Roe v Wade and gave many lectures and taught many courses at the University of Texas at Houston as well as Texan’s Women’s University on Leadership, Law and Gender Discrimination.  She was so active she even attended the 2019 signing ceremony for a New York law meant to safeguard abortion rights, should Roe v Wade be overturned.  

It is the hard and valiant work of women like Ms. Weddington who have secured and helped save women’s rights over the years.  She will be sorely missed. 

Thank you, from all of us, for all the hard work.  May you rest in peace.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of The Associated Press
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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New Yorkers, Free To Rename Themselves: A New Law Is A Big Step Forward For Transgender & Non-Binary People

Posted On: December 27, 2021

This article highlights a new change in New York State Law that has been a long time in coming and is incredibly significant.  It permits anyone, including LGBTQ individuals, to obtain a name change without requiring the Court to require a publication in a newspaper setting forth a legal notice that a particular person is changing their name and identifying their old name and their new name.  

For years, in order to protect the LGBTQ Community, as attorneys we would have to specifically request and hope that a Judge would agree not to require publication.  For many individuals the mere publication could put an LGBTQ individual, especially transgender and non-binary individuals, in actual danger.

The new law, "The Gender Recognition Act", which recently went into effect on December 21, 2021, also authorizes changes to the state records law so that people can have their gender identity on documents such as driver's licenses and birth certificates which reflect their individual identity.  

Although this new law was guided primarily to protect transgender and non-binary individuals, it also protects other individuals, especially victims of domestic violence, who will no longer be required to publicize their new names or addresses.  

It also changes the requirement of spousal consent to change one's name.  Most people are unaware that currently, if you are married, you need the consent of your spouse before the Court will issue an order to change your name.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Hilary Gingold, NYDailyNews (dot) com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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Same-Sex Couples In Certain States May Get A Tax Break From Democrats’ $1.75 Trillion Social Plan

Posted On: December 20, 2021

Many think that the LGBTQ Community has obtained many rights and freedoms over the years, which is true to some extent, but the LGBTQ Community is still fighting for rights many years after the historic Stone Wall Riots.  However, the LGBTQ Community faces current threats in the form of legislation and discrimination and in many instances violent hate crimes across our nation.  

This article highlights proposed changes to federal tax law, which would allow some same sex couples to file amended returns to obtain tax refunds.  Some supporters argue the change would correct inequality in existing tax laws.  There is a little provision in the President’s current plan to expand the nation’s social safety net, which could mean a tax break for some same sex couples.  

To understand the history, in the case of United States v Windsor, the Supreme Court struck down parts of DOMA, the (Defense of Marriage Act) in 2013.  This came about as a result of an estate tax issue for a couple who was legally married in Canada, but when one of the parties died in the United States, the United States government refused to honor the marriage exemption for estate tax purposes.  Following the Windsor case, the IRS issued guidelines that permitted taxpayers to amend their tax returns with respect to their marital status, but only permitted that generally back to 2010.  The recently proposed legislations by the Democrats for the $1.7 trillion Social and Climate Spending Plan, the latest alliteration of the Build Back Better Act, will let tax payers who were legally married under state law before 2010 to claim federal tax benefits that are unavailable under current rules. Therefore, couples could file amended tax returns for years as early as 2004 by amending and filing joint federal returns as a married couple and claiming refunds and credits that may result in a net tax benefit.  This could be significant for some couples.

Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same sex marriage in 2003.  There were only four other states, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont, plus Washington D.C., that legalized same sex marriage before 2010.  Although tax rights were available to same sex couples, nationally recognized legalized same sex marriages did not occur until 2015 in Obergefell v Hodges.

As expressed in this article, not all same sex couples would benefit from filing jointly as opposed to filing single as single tax payers.  There are some marriage penalties that do not actually give a tax break or benefit.  Usually the biggest benefit is when one spouse is the higher earner or the other spouse has little or no income.  Before this becomes a reality for anyone, it has to become law!

I would suggest consulting an accountant to see whether the tax benefit of filing these amended returns greatly outweigh any cost incurred in the filing of these amended returns.  Otherwise, it may not make sense to do it.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Greg Iacurci, CNBC (dot) com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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8 Early Ways To Tell If Your Marriage Will Last

Posted On: December 13, 2021

This article reflects the grim statistics of the high percentage of divorce and the fact that some people are choosing not to marry. 

Obviously, people who are part of a happy marriage will tend to see that marriage last longer than others.  Although happiness cannot be forced, couples can work to ensure that they meet each other’s expectations and make each other happy. 

I think meeting expectations and understanding one another’s expectations is extremely important, along with open and honest communication.  This article not only explores what some couples do differently that can be a predictor of a happy marriage, but also gives clues on what to look for and keep in mind for maintaining a healthy relationship. 

In looking at your own marriage, how many of these eight factors do you recognize in your own relationship?

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of D. Begg, YourTango (dot) com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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Divorce Can Devastate Women’s Retirement Savings. Here’s How To Rebuild.

Posted On: December 07, 2021

Surviving the financial devastation and change that a divorce can bring is problematic for most people going through a divorce; setting aside the cost of actually getting divorced, splitting up assets that were designed to support two people and now have to support two people separately...it can all be extremely devastating and challenging. 

This impact can also be magnified when dealing with someone who is at an age that is closer to retirement when the majority of their earning capacity is in the past.  This is even more dramatic for women, since pay scales have never been equalized and women do not and have not had equal earning capacities of men. 

Women are also not only impacted by the wage difference; they historically have been the party to take time from work and career to raise children.  In addition, divorced women are more likely to have and bear the majority of costs for their children. 

This article takes a look at those issues as well as insights on how women can start to rebuild their retirement savings after a divorce.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Carmen Reinicke @ CNBC (dot) com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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What to Do When You Start Resenting Your Spouse, According to 5 Therapists

Posted On: November 29, 2021

According to this article, the resentment of a spouse is typical in most relationships, but just because it may arise, that doesn't mean that you cannot avoid the negative effect.  Five therapist in this article contribute their wisdom on how to avoid and heal this issue.  All conclude that these types of resentments, unaddressed and the longer that they exist and linger, could be devastating and fatal to any relationship.

This is a good read to offer self-examination and reflection, plus solutions.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Matt Christensen, Fatherly (dot) com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of UnSplash

Concetta Spirio.  A Compassionate Collaborative Divorce Attorney, Mediator & Peacemaker Providing The Highest Level of Legal Representation For Over 34 Years.

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