- The Aftermath of the Election From the Perspective of a Family Lawyer – read now
- Is That Employee Holiday Gift Taxable? – read now
The Aftermath of the Election From the Perspective of a Family Lawyer
I suspect that I am not the only one still recovering, so to speak, from the painstaking wait of the recent presidential election. I recently posted about the striking similarities between that experience and family law litigation. Now, roughly two weeks after Joe Biden has been declared the incoming 46th President of the United States (by a host of different sources), we are all left to see just how this transition will go.
In the past, departing presidents have left heartwarming notes of support for the incoming president in the Oval Office. Members of the first family have given tours and shown the kid-friendly perks of the White House to the incoming family. While these departing presidents may have been disappointed to have not been re-elected, or to have a different political party take office, they all demonstrated a tremendous amount of dignity and desire for the greater good and unity of the United States of America.
We will just have to wait and see what happens in the coming months.
As a family lawyer, I can’t help but compare the aftermath of the presidential election to the aftermath of parents whom have litigated a family law dispute. One of the downsides of litigation is that it is an incredibly adversarial process. To adjudicate the issues of legal and physical custody, parties often cast each other as unfit parents, whom are incapable of reaching shared decisions together as a result of one parent lacking judgment to make decisions that are in the best interests of a child. Family members, teachers, and friends are often called as witnesses to testify in support of one parent’s claim that he or she is a fit and proper parent, engaged and involved in the child’s academics, and social, emotional, and medical needs, while the other parent is not.
You throw as much mud on the wall and see what sticks, some lawyers say (not me). But needless to say, the litigation process fosters a lot of hard feelings. Unlike the presidential election, family law litigation rarely produces a clear winner. It is quite possible that despite the hurtful allegations hurled between dueling parents, a judge may very well decide that it is in the best interests of a child that the parents share joint legal custody and have a shared physical access schedule. Unlike President George H.W. Bush, or his son, President George W. Bush’s generous gestures of unity, it can be quite difficult for parents to put the litigation behind them and transition smoothly to work as a team.
Clients in the thick of family law litigation often can’t wait for things to be “over” and to not have to deal with their spouse. I often remind clients that as long as you share children together, you will need to communicate with your ex-spouse. It is ideal for a child to see their parents be in the same room or at the same sporting event, hold a pleasant conversation during a custodial exchange, and be able to celebrate milestones together down the road, whether it be a graduation or wedding.
If you are in the process of a separation and divorce, it is important to consider the repercussions of litigating a family law dispute. While it is tremendously challenging to compromise, you need to think about the aftermath of litigation and how hard it might be to put aside hard feelings in order to effectively co-parent with your ex. Should you wish to consider the many options available to resolve your family law dispute, give me a call at 410.659.1325 or email me at email@example.com.
Is That Employee Holiday Gift Taxable?
As the holidays near, employers who intend to give employee gifts should consider whether those gifts should be treated as taxable income.
All forms of employee compensation are taxable unless specifically excluded by the tax law. In general, holiday gifts are excludable from income under IRS Code Section 132(a)(4) if they qualify as a “de minimis benefit.” De minimis benefits are those that are so small and infrequent as to make accounting for them unreasonable or impractical. The IRS issued advice in 2001 that items with a value exceeding $100 could not be considered de minimis, even under unusual circumstances. Whether the IRS would reconsider that assessment to account for inflation remains to be seen.
Cash or cash equivalents are almost always taxable. “Cash equivalents” include gift cards that are redeemable for general merchandise or have a cash equivalent. An exception applies for occasional meal or transportation money to allow an employee to work beyond normal hours.
Non-taxable gifts include a certificate that allows the employee to receive a specific item that is minimal in value, provided infrequently and for which it is administratively impossible to account. An example of this type of gift may be a certificate for a holiday turkey or ham.
Other de minimis benefits include tickets to sporting or theater events, flowers or fruit for special occasions, books or other items of minimal value. If you have any questions regarding taxability of employee holiday gifts or other employment law matters, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-659-1340.
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