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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.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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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.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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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.

#Concetta #ConcettaSpirio #ConcettaLaw #SpirioLaw #Marriage #Divorce #RealEstate #Litigation #Wills #Trusts #Estates #Mediation #CollaborativeDivorce #LongIsland #Suffolk #Nassau #Islip #Sayville #LGBT

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