Wanting to keep the deductibility of alimony on the table, some couples are pressuring their divorce attorneys to move faster and get it done by New Year’s Eve.
Lynne Strober, an attorney with Mandelbaum Salsburg in Roseland, said she’s seen a “very significant rush” to complete cases.
“I have actually been retained recently to work on substantial cases to be resolved before the end of the year,” she said. “I am working seven days a week to address this.”
She said attorneys, accountants and their staffs are working diligently to accommodate clients who are concerned with the change in the tax code.
Terryann Bradley, a family law attorney with Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina and Bradley in Morristown, agrees that everyone is working in overdrive.
“I am honestly working at a maximum capacity like I have not in many years,” she said. “The singular reason is our clients’ desire, and understandably so, to have their judgments of divorce executed in 2018.”
But a lot of the panic is misplaced, said Kenneth White, a certified matrimonial attorney with Shane and White in Edison.
He said that’s because there will be a change in the way alimony will be negotiated in 2019.
“I have had several clients who acted as if the world would come to an end if their divorce was not finalized before the end of the year, primarily a fear of the unknown,” White said.
He said those fears may be unfounded.
Attorneys will “account for the fact that alimony is no longer a taxable event, with the goal to set alimony going forward so that it has the same ‘net’ effect on each party’s income as a non-taxable event as it would have had when it had been a taxable event,” White said.