Lawyers who handle divorce cases must know the applicable tax law – especially regarding child support and maintenance. Divorce lawyers often refer clients to a tax professional such as an accountant or a tax lawyer. But that may not always been enough for a lawyer to avert liability for malpractice. For example, the tax professional may provide the wrong advice, or the client may never obtain the recommended advice. In either of these circumstances, one California appellate court held that the lawyer could be sued for malpractice. Moreover, a knowledge of divorce tax law will allow you to help the parties save money through creative drafting through the use of unallocated maintenance awards, and understanding when there is little or no value to such things as an award of the dependency exemptions. I have found that in the average divorce case knowledge of the basics of tax law can often save your clients thousands of dollars a year.
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