TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT (TCJA) OF 2017 COMPLICATES POTENTIAL SETTLEMENT OF DIVORCE CASES

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) enacted dramatic changes to several tax issues that directly impact how divorces are settled. If you are a high wage earner, or you’re married to one and you’re contemplating getting a divorce, there’s almost a sense of urgency toward you understanding the financial aspects of your divorce and when to file your marital settlement agreement, should you and your spouse reach one.

Heather L. Locus, an owner and wealth manager at Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC in Chicago, defines on her Website why this could be important to you. “Many high-net-worth couples may want to move quickly in order to preserve some important financial options,” Locus writes. “Couples who finalize their divorce agreements this year have many more options since the most significant rules impacting divorce go into effect on New Year’s Day 2019.”

In a previous blog we dissected how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 dramatically affects spousal support payments. After January 1st, 2019, all payments between former spouses in executed divorce agreements will be treated in much the same way as shared income was during their marriage. In other words, spousal support and unallocated support payments of any kind will no longer be tax deductible by the payor spouse nor will they be taxable to the recipient spouse. It is similar to how child support payments have always been dealt with in family law. No deductions permitted.

An article written for familylawyermagazine.com entitled, New Tax Law Helps & Hurts High-Net-Worth Divorce Cases, Locus, CPA, CFP, CDFA, reminds us that there are other changes to the new tax laws and how they will impact the way divorces are settled, and they should be kept in mind when negotiating a divorce settlement. They are:

  • The Personal Exemption. It was reduced to $0 for all taxpayers this year but may return to a $4,000 exemption in 2026 unless laws change again.
  • State and Local Taxes. Deductions for state income and property taxes above $10,000 combined are gone. However, this results in fewer taxpayers being subject to the AMT.
  • Moving Expenses. Unless one of the divorcing spouses is a member of the Armed Forces, expenses incurred separating one marital household into two are no longer deductible.
  • Legal and Professional Service Fees. Tax preparation, investment advisory fees, and your legal fees incurred for tax planning and to obtain taxable alimony are also gone. Some other changes — such as the raising of estate values subject to inheritance taxes — may indirectly impact high-net worth divorce negotiations as the need for advance estate planning vehicles such as Life Insurance Trusts and Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) are reduced.

PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED

As Locus stated above, the new tax laws eliminate personal exemptions for the tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, and ending December 31, 2025. During this eight-year period, divorcing parents will not be able to utilize the personal exemption for dependent children, which means there will be no more negotiating which parent will be eligible to take it.

Before this year, tax filers received a deduction from income for their personal exemptions, including themselves, their spouse, and their children. In divorce and separation agreements it was common for parents with children to negotiate who could use the personal exemption deduction for income and in which year, but not anymore.

CHILD TAX CREDIT INCREASES

Even with the changes in the tax laws divorcing parents will still be able to negotiate which parent will be allowed to claim the “Child Tax Credit”, and which parent will not. Similar to negotiating for personal exemptions, someone involved in a divorce would want to negotiate which spouse gets to claim the “Child Tax Credit”. An income deduction merely reduces taxable income. A “Child Tax Credit” provides a dollar-for-dollar reduction of tax owed. It is an important negotiating tool, and the TCJA doubles the “Child Tax Credit” from $1,000 to $2,000 for children under the age of 17.

Possibly of more importance, $1,400 of the $2,000 credit is refundable to the filing spouse, whereas in prior years the “Child Tax Credit” was not refundable. The “Child Tax Credit” might now be more useful than ever in divorce settlement negotiations because it immediately reduces taxes owed and it is partially refundable.

FAMILY RESIDENCE BECOMES MORE EXPENSIVE

The new limits on deductions imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will make the prospects of being able to afford to keep the family residence a more challenging proposition. If you took out a home mortgage to acquire your home after December 15, 2017, the TCJA now requires mortgage interest deduction to only be available for interest paid on up to $750,000 of debt on first and second homes combined. However, if your loans for first and second homes combined was created prior to December 15, 2017, you are grandfathered in. This means you have a $1 million limit for interest deductions.

The 2017 tax laws also affect how divorcing spouses will deduct their home mortgage interest payments. According to the IRS the new law suspends from 2018 until 2026 the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans and lines of credit, unless they are used to buy, build or substantially improve the taxpayer’s home that secures the loan.

This means the deduction for home equity indebtedness has been repealed, unless the home equity indebtedness qualifies as “acquisition indebtedness” — ie. it was used to acquire, build, or improve a primary or secondary residence. As written, the repeal of the home equity interest deduction does not have a grandfather provision. This means all equity loan interest, regardless of when the loan was originated, will no longer be deductible if the proceeds of the equity line were not used to buy, build, or improve the primary or secondary residence.

THE WINDOW IS CLOSING

Due to the many changes in the tax laws suffused with much confusion that surrounds the new rules, your ability as a divorcing spouse to tailor your divorce agreements to suit your particular financial needs will disappear in 2019. That’s why you might want to seek guidance from a family law specialist now. Please be warned that many otherwise competent divorce lawyers are not up to speed on many of the new tax changes. So don’t assume that just any family law attorney is capable of guiding you to the best tax results in your divorce. Contact a specialist in family law who is up to date on the latest tax changes that might affect you.

 

 

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WILL GOD’S AGENDA STIFLE DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA?

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Ah, us liberal Californians, you got to love us or leave us, but we’re going to look good either way. That’s because we work hard at it. It takes time and ambition to soak up sun like George Hamilton and remove lines in our faces like Jane Fonda. We like buttocks surgeries because they make us look like Ms. Bumbum and vegan diets because they make us look thin in our mirror’s reflection. Some of us spend lifetimes and fortunes never succeeding but always finding better ways to look even better in our quest to entice the other side.

California lifestyles say “rich” while we work endless hours to make the kind of money it takes to attract a like inclined individual from the opposite sex. This is how it was taught back in the 70s and it’s how it’s still being played out by many today. Once we set our magnet tentacles into this new person of interest, we can then work on what we’ve spent a lifetime being programmed into dreaming about — tying the proverbial knot with a White Knight and living happily ever after.

We see it happen all the time on the Disney Channel. It’s embedded into the romantic subplot of inane stories designed to program underdeveloped minds. Of course eventually, after we’ve grown up and had our own kids and family dissension has set in and everyone’s kind of gone off in different directions; when the lightening juice of love and lust of overrun hearts that got us together in the first place has simply dried up, stark reality can be very painful. That’s when we put the alcohol and pain medications down and get on our PC or mobile phone device and hire the best divorce lawyer our money can buy. We pay her handsomely to undue “it” at all cost. For many, divorce is by far the easiest segment of the cost of doing life here on the Gold Coast.

HAVE THE WINDS OF DIVORCE SHIFTED IN CALIFORNIA?

The skies have changed in California and it has nothing to do with the smell of sun tan lotion and chemtrails. There was a Red Tsunami of Evangelical Christian proportion that has swept through our state along with the 2018 Midterms, overturning tiny little blue umbrellas and flooding castles made of champagne sand. Liberals have been diagnosed with spinning heads and PTSD. With this overtaking of Biblical proportion comes an attempted reform of values centered around Christian Doctrine, of which many Californians generally aren’t really that familiar.

Thus it seems like a good idea for all married Californians – or non married Californians who are thinking about getting married – and all divorce attorneys to understand the divorce game is undoubtedly about to change forever. No matter how we look at it Jesus and Church inspired voters are back in town and there’s no reason to believe they’ll be leaving anytime soon. Thus they promise to spread tremendous influence affecting all aspects of our lives.

THE EVANGELICALS HAVE SET UP SHOP

The New York Times talked about how the Evangelicals have set up shop in and are fighting to retake California. That’s a fact. They say they’re tired of being stepped on and they’re aiming straight for our hearts.

Try to imagine Jesus espousing conservative political undertones, while bringing back his messages to a state with vast evangelical pockets of population. This equated to many Christians recently running for city council seats, mayorships, and every level of government to help effect change in California. Change is happening whether we voted for it or not.

The mission is pretty simple. It’s about faith and Jesus with a parallel message of conservative cause. The conservative approach opposes hot button issues like same sex marriage and abortion. It supports conversion therapy which is intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2012, California passed a law restricting the practice on minors.

How does that bode for other conservative values supported by the Evangelical Christians, and the Catholic Church, that intersect with contradicting liberal values practiced by many longtime Californians? We know those who support abortion and same-sex marriage are willing to march into the streets and protest in support of their beliefs. We also know what Jesus and the Church have always taught about divorce and remarriage, and that makes for great conflict for many who like to divorce and remarry quickly in California.

The teachings expressed by Jesus, the Church, and Evangelical Christians similarly offend many core liberals. Jesus is about sanctity of matrimony. Many Californians are about looking tanned, making money, divorcing and moving on to new relationships, and not necessarily in that order. Something is going to have to give eventually here and no matter what it is we are going to witness change, on many levels, marriage and divorce being a major one.

JESUS, THE CHURCH, DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE

It is taught that Jesus elevated the act of matrimony to the status of a sacrament. This means a valid marriage between two baptized people is considered a sacramental marriage that cannot be dissolved, writes Fr. Richard Heilman at romancatholicman.com. Divorce is out of the question if you belong to the Catholic Church.

In an article entitled, What Jesus And The Church Have Always Taught About Divorce & Remarriage, Fr. Heilman writes that if “anyone so married attempts to divorce and remarry, he enters a state of perpetual adultery which is a mortal sin.” This of course can lead to many family problems for Catholics. But how many mortal sinners would those rules make out of us ordinary citizens who live and marry in California? Do we really have to be a church member to be a mortal sinner? Could these rules some day apply beyond the Church into everyday life? And does the rule apply equally to men and women?

Jesus appears to speak on behalf of men when he said: “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18, cf. Mark 10:11-12). That’s a lot of adultery for men to watch out for, transgenders need not apply. This is about a “man” and “woman” who have commingled their lives through holy sacrament. Through the Church’s eyes they are bound for life.

According to God’s law once we make the sacrament of marriage we are bound to it for the life of either party. Paul seems to have spoken for women on the issue when he said: “Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives … Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive” (Rom. 7:2-3).

“Adulteress” is a situation for the Church to be handled from within the institutional framework. It has been through the turn of many centuries and cultures. This does not apply to California divorce courts or “man’s” laws. Fr. Heilman notes that these strictures only apply to sacramental marriages – those between baptized people. For marriages involving an unbaptized party, a different rule applies (1 Cor. 7:12-15).

Although various cultures have allowed for divorce legally Jesus and the Church have always been consistent with their message. The Greco-Roman culture, for instance, allowed for easy divorce and remarriage although Church Fathers proclaimed Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. This is the same thing the Catholic Church has done today in our over-the-counter divorce culture (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1614-1615), Fr. Heilman writes. Many churches have modified their teachings to accommodate the pro-divorce ethos that dominates modern culture, but the Catholic Church remains consistent in teaching what Jesus taught.

Under marriage today a baptized couple can “remarry” after divorce only if the Church finds that a valid sacramental marriage never existed in the first place (a decree of nullity; see CCC 1629), Fr. Heilman writes. The “remarriage” is actually their first marriage. If, however, the parties were genuinely and sacramentally married, they may in some cases live apart and even obtain a legal separation, but they are not free to remarry (CCC 1649). A divorce is simply out of the question.

AN ACT OF GOD

This is “not a command of men”, but one that “comes directly from Jesus Christ”, Father Heilman writes. As Paul said: “To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband) – and that the husband should not divorce his wife” (1 Cor. 7:10-15). This is an important issue that many Californians will be looking at under an entirely different light than they have in the past. Times have changed. “American culture” is transforming back to American culture. After all, we were once a nation created under God.

Divorce will never again be looked at with the same liberal attitude we in America have displayed since the 1960s “cultural revolution”. Things have changed since then and that continued transformation just might begin to accelerate for the good of us all.

 

 

DOES THE U.S. HAVE ENOUGH GOLD TO BACK THE NEW U.S. DOLLAR?

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The U.S. dollar as we know it is about to be replaced by a new currency. We don’t know when. It could be this year, or maybe next year, we don’t know. The question is not if? the Federal Reserve Note (U.S. Dollar) will be replaced but when? When it does, it’s going to have to be gold backed with value. Real assets like gold will have to back the new U.S. dollar at least in part for America, and Americans, to get back onto the global financial carousel with economic independence and the ability to coexist with foreign currencies that are backed by gold.

The important question to us as Americans with family members to provide for and a desire to see our spending power grow is how much if any gold does the U.S. actually possess? A legacy of secrecy still surrounds how much gold America has, author James Ledbetter, editor of “Inc. magazine” and the author of “One Nation Under Gold: How One Precious Metal Has Dominated the American Imagination for Four Centuries”, writes for the Los Angeles Times. “Some of the conservative and libertarian figures who demand that the Federal Reserve be audited, for example, grumble that there may be a lot less gold — maybe none! — in Fort Knox than official numbers allow,” Ledbetter writes.

Others believe U.S. central bank vaults possess more gold than America’s been letting on to. On August 21, 2017, Bloomberg reported that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had paid a rare official visit to Fort Knox to in fact confirm the nation’s gold stash.

Is our financial inventory in tact? U.S. Treasury Secretary says it is, sort of.

“I assume the gold is still there,” Mnuchin, a former Hollywood producer, recently told an audience 40 miles north of the U.S. Bullion Depository. After the visit, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury playfully reassured America that the treasure was still secure. But is it? What if Mnuchin is wrong? Or lying? And what if the U.S. really doesn’t have enough physical gold to back the greenback?

DO WE REALLY HAVE ANY GOLD?

Our President appears to believe in a gold standard but he has expressed doubts as to America’s status as a present legal custodian of the precious metal. “We used to have a very, very solid country because it was based on a gold standard,” Ralph Benko of Forbes cites President Trump in March 2016 as telling WMUR television station in New Hampshire, “but it would be tough to bring it back because we don’t have the gold. Other places have the gold.”

Other places have the gold and America does not? Could that be true?

As if doubling down on our president’s position regarding America’s gold possessions Benko cites Trump as telling GQ: “Bringing back the gold standard would be very hard to do, but boy, would it be wonderful. We’d have a standard on which to base our money.”

Which makes it all seem obvious that there’s no way the U.S. actually has the gold to back a new currency, right? Wrong, Ralph Benko writes, objecting strongly to the President’s position saying Trump has been misled to believe that “we don’t have the gold. Other places have the gold.” The United States, Germany, and the IMF have about as much gold as the rest of the world combined, Benko informs us, with America having well more than Germany and the IMF combined.

America claims to hold 8,133.5 tons of physical gold in its official reserves. Fifty-eight percent is reportedly held in Fort Knox, Kentucky, 20 percent at West Point in New York, 16 percent is said to be at the U.S. Mint in Denver, Colorado, and five percent is held at the New York Fed, an RT article says.

Singapore’s BullionStar precious metals expert Ronan Manly is quoted as telling RT that America’s actual gold reserves are likely much smaller.

“The entire story around the U.S. gold reserves is opaque and secretive. There has never been a full independent audit of the U.S. gold reserves, and the custodians of the gold, the U.S. Mint and the Federal Reserve of New York will not let anybody into the vaults to view the gold or to count it,” Manly told RT.

Besides, even if there were gold in American vaults there’s a very serious question as to the purity of the precious metal.

“Even the details that have been provided on the supposed U.S. gold holdings show that a majority of the gold bars are low purity and in weights that don’t conform to the industry standard ‘Good Delivery’ gold bar specifications,” Manly is quoted as telling RT.

This would make the gold un-tradable on the international market because of its low quality. There have been rumors that in the past the U.S. government has attempted to pay off debts with China using tungsten bars painted gold. China was reportedly deeply unimpressed with this payment method and returned the tainted bars back to the U.S.

WHERE WILL AMERICA GET GOLD TO BACK ITS NEW CURRENCY?

Like they say, if you’ve got it, show it. There’s a major question as to whether America actually does have the gold to back a new U.S. currency. If we don’t, where are we going to get it and how much will it cost?

President Trump has already told us that we don’t got it and someone else does. We know Russia has been buying up gold like there’s no tomorrow. China’s Royal Families and Elders are said to possess tremendous amounts of “unofficial” gold and other precious treasures from the ancient past. If we don’t have it in the U.S., would we get our gold from Asian countries in spite of the trade wars, billions of dollars in tariffs, South China Sea military standoff, and North Korea?

Or would we get our gold from Russia whom we’ve been targeting with the nuclear war drum roll for decades? Would Russian President Putin just forgive the United States for bringing the Communist Curtain down upon all Russian people in 1991, the destruction of the ruble, and the deaths of more than a million Russian people whose lives depended upon it, and just give the U.S. another 70 million metric tons of gold as the Russian Tsar reportedly did back in 1913 to help gold back the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. dollar?

There are rumors, myths, and stories that there are other greater hoards of golden wealth stashed out there in other countries belonging to someone that has yet to be legally established in the public eye. Might they lend a few million ounces of precious metals to Uncle Sam to help us in a time of need? Or not?

The rest of the world is turning to a gold standard. Our president and members of congress think gold backing of the U.S. currency would be a good idea. The Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Reserve Note are breaking. The U.S. dollar and all markets tied to it are exploding into thin air on a global scale. Who’s going to give America its gold and save us? Who’s going to give our families a break?

Singapore’s BullionStar precious metals expert Ronan Manly is quoted as telling RT that America’s actual gold reserves are likely much smaller.

“The entire story around the U.S. gold reserves is opaque and secretive. There has never been a full independent audit of the U.S. gold reserves, and the custodians of the gold, the U.S. Mint and the Federal Reserve of New York will not let anybody into the vaults to view the gold or to count it,” Manly told RT.

Besides, even if there were gold in American vaults there’s a very serious question as to the purity of the precious metal.

“Even the details that have been provided on the supposed U.S. gold holdings show that a majority of the gold bars are low purity and in weights that don’t conform to the industry standard ‘Good Delivery’ gold bar specifications,” Manly is quoted as telling RT.

This would make the gold un-tradable on the international market because of its low quality. There have been rumors that in the past the U.S. government has attempted to pay off debts with China using tungsten bars painted gold. China was reportedly deeply unimpressed with this payment method and returned the tainted bars back to the U.S.

WHERE WILL AMERICA GET GOLD TO BACK ITS NEW CURRENCY?

Like they say, if you’ve got it, show it. There’s a major question as to whether America actually does have the gold to back a new U.S. currency. If we don’t, where are we going to get it and how much will it cost?

President Trump has already told us that we don’t got it and someone else does. We know Russia has been buying up gold like there’s no tomorrow. China’s Royal Families and Elders are said to possess tremendous amounts of “unofficial” gold and other precious treasures from the ancient past. If we don’t have it in the U.S., would we get our gold from Asian countries in spite of the trade wars, billions of dollars in tariffs, South China Sea military standoff, and North Korea?

Or would we get our gold from Russia whom we’ve been targeting with the nuclear war drum roll for decades? Would Russian President Putin just forgive the United States for bringing the Communist Curtain down upon all Russian people in 1991, the destruction of the ruble, and the deaths of more than a million Russian people whose lives depended upon it, and just give the U.S. another 70 million metric tons of gold as the Russian Tsar reportedly did back in 1913 to help gold back the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. dollar?

There are rumors, myths, and stories that there are other greater hoards of golden wealth stashed out there in other countries belonging to someone that has yet to be legally established in the public eye. Might they lend a few million ounces of precious metals to Uncle Sam to help us in a time of need? Or not?

The rest of the world is turning to a gold standard. Our president and members of congress think gold backing of the U.S. currency would be a good idea. The Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Reserve Note are breaking. The U.S. dollar and all markets tied to it are exploding into thin air on a global scale. Who’s going to give America its gold and save us? Who’s going to give our families a break?

 

 

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WHAT HAPPENED TO HR 5404 – AND THE GOLD BACKING OF AMERICA’S NEW CURRENCY?

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It’s tough being a kid growing up in these times of civil war and deprivation where censorship runs rampant and the many layers of falsehood are often confused for truth. We’ve seen up close the horrors of pain and desperation etched onto the faces of hungry American children and frail elders alike. Our food and water is poisoned, geoengineering is making us ill and destroying the environment in which we live, and fires endlessly burn us out of our homes, jobs, and air. The economy has turned many of us into financial slaves and we can feel the devastation of loved ones falling apart right before our helpless eyes.

Our children are our futures yet they suffer from the darkness of a financial insecurity of which they are yet unaware. Many families don’t have enough money to make ends meet on a monthly basis which means they don’t have the financial wherewithal to keep their families together, to fill their children’s bellies with nutritionally balanced meals, or to clothe them properly from head to toe. Choices with profound implications have to be made under every roof every day. Irreversible sacrifices are being taken. Bills are not getting paid, medicines or food or both are not being bought, and almost all of this has to do with scarcity in the name of the American Dollar.

WHAT HAPPENED TO HR 5404?

One of our biggest problems is that the U.S. dollar has basically become worthless, rendering our purchasing power of goods and services in the marketplace to near nothingness. We’ve been fleeced through the last hundred or so years by the United States Federal Reserve, fiat currencies, and the Western Central Banking System. They who run finances have scraped 97% of the wealth out of the U.S. dollar which has benefited their well beings while we the average American family are left with the last three cents on the dollar which is backed by nothing but growing U.S. debt. Which is now more than $21 trillion dollars and that’s not counting the $21 trillion that has been proven missing from the HUD and the DOD. That’s at least $42 trillion right there that our children and their children and their grandchildren will never be able to account for.

Which all the more proves why it is significant that a Congressman from West Virginia has proposed a bill called HR 5404 to gold back the U.S. dollar. According to thedailycoin.org Republican Congressman Alex Mooney has proposed a bill that will “define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold.” Mooney wrote an op ed about it in the “Wall Street Journal”.

That’s right. It has been introduced into congress that America should return to a gold standard. This idea is not new though. Even President Trump told us back in 2017 that he would like to see America return to a gold standard. In a Forbes.com article entitled, “President Trump: Replace The Dollar With Gold As The Global Currency To Make America Great Again”, Ralph Benko writes that bringing back the gold standard would not be very hard to do with a president like Trump.

“Donald Trump shows a strong affinity for gold,” Benko writes. “He has also shown a keen intuitive grasp of how the gold standard was crucial to having made America great.”

So what this means is that our government is soon going to gold back the U.S. currency, right? That’s how it was supposed to be in the very beginning, before the Federal Reserve took over our country’s finances in 1913, right?

In proposing H.R. 5404 the U.S. Congressman from West Virginia criticizes U.S. monetary policy, citing the fall in the dollar’s purchasing power after the gold standard was abolished.

“The United States dollar has lost 30 percent of its purchasing power since 2000, and 96 percent of its purchasing power since the end of the gold standard in 1913,” the bill says.

The congressman goes on to describe the advantages of having a gold-backed dollar.

“The gold standard puts control of the money supply with the market instead of the Federal Reserve. The gold standard means legal tender defined by and convertible into a certain quantity of gold. Under the gold standard through 1913, the United States economy grew at an annual average of four percent, one-third larger than the growth rate since then and twice the level since 2000,” Mooney says.

This would be good for us but nobody even knows about it. Did you? Nobody owns gold, instead everybody trading in dollars that are debt backed, which is what the U.S. dollar is and what America runs on. That’s all any of us own with our present financial system, which is being run into the ground.

Congressman Mooney says that under the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent inflation objective, “the dollar loses half of its purchasing power every generation, or 35 years.” Think about that for a long moment. We own debt that backs our assets and that’s what we bought our houses with. Our families’ homes and our cars were bought with U.S. dollars backed by debt that loses half it’s value every generation.

So what does that really say about everyone’s pensions or real estate that is tied into the U.S. dollar? Is that why we’re struggling so badly to keep our families living in some semblance of the lifestyle we have become accustomed to after we divorce? Is there any such thing as the “American Dream” anymore? If so, should we consider whether this new legislation, H.R. 5404, should become law? Because our old system of monetary value has lost its “value”?

Like Congressman Mooney says, “American families need long-term price stability to meet their household spending needs, save money, and plan for retirement.”   These are the types of important issues we advise clients about to help them and their families stay ahead of the financial game and move forward in their lives. Meet spending needs, save value, and invest for ultimate retirement.

HOW MUCH GOLD DO WE AMERICANS OWN?

In an interview with the World Gold Council’s Gold Investor former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan stated, “I view gold as the primary global currency.”

President Trump agrees. It’s been 34 years since U.S. lawmakers even tried to change the way America’s currency is backed, when Congressman Jack Kemp introduced the Gold Standard Act of 1984, which was cosponsored by seven others including Newt Gingrich and Connie Mack. It didn’t pass. 34 years later we have HR 5404.

Will it succeed? It has to if we as a country are going to succeed. Some believe we’ve made positive strides toward making gold backing of our currency a reality. “I think we are building a foundation of expertise — expertise that we didn’t have in 1980,” writes Nathan Lewis in Forbes in an article called, After 34 Years, We Again Have A Bill To Relink The Dollar To Gold“. “That will allow us to restore the united long tradition of gold-based money, when the political time is right.”

The question remains: when will the political time be right? And when it is right, who will be there to tell us how much gold, if any, the U.S. really owns to back the dollar?

VENTURA FAMILY LAWYERS EXPOSE SACHA BARON COHEN AND SHOWTIME ON BEHALF OF DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS

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Who do we think we are?

We are a boutique California family law firm and mediation center dedicated to serving families and helping them preserve their hard earned wealth. Beneath our professional veneer you will find a team of humble servants of God striving to make a difference in everyday people’s lives. We strive to champion righteous causes, our decades of experience provide us with insight into how better to achieve family values and prosperity, and we write to expose the serious problems and potential solutions thereto regarding the fact major American institutions are making life miserable and often times deadly for American Veterans and senior citizens, two of America’s most vulnerable and valuable social classes.

That’s why on September 6 we wrote an article specifically targeting Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime when the non funny comedian disrespected disabled American vets in a segment of his failed Who is America? series on Showtime. We blasted the unfunny Brit who had disguised himself as a disabled American vet from Kentucky, fake wheelchair and all, while interviewing former Alaska governor and U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whom he stated he was a fan of.

The whole episode was actually a thinly veiled and distasteful political attack against the right. Cohen performed the interview wearing a necklace made of bullets and had a laptop covered in InfoWars stickers, says Breitbart in an August 27 article. Cohen’s disguise was described as being a caricature of a conservative middle-class Trump voter. He was asking Palin “absurd, racist, homophobic, and sexist questions” that were all meant to “mock Trump voters as a bunch of ignorant and offensive kooks,” the Breitbart article says.

Sarah Palin walked out of the interview when Cohen asked her whether Chelsea Clinton had been subject to a government-funded sex change.

Showtime pushed back later issuing a statement denying that the incident ever took place, saying, “Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair.”

VENTURA FAMILY LAWYERS WARN TO RESPECT OUR FLAG

We warned both Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime that this was no time to show contempt for America or to disrespect disabled American Veterans. We reminded the world that we represent American veterans and all the great things they stand for, and our U.S. government has literally failed to provide to these men and women the adequate housing and healthcare they require to deal with the plethora of serious physical and mental issues they have come home with while fighting for our country.

We asked if we might not benefit more by spending our energies rebuilding America instead of destroying the place American veterans stand and fought for; the only place most of us have ever called home. And while asking these important questions something pretty wonderful happened. It was like deja vu all over again. It was as if the world had gotten our message, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s disrespect of America’s veterans would disappear with a whimper and several lame excuses. At least that’s how we understood the August 27 New York Times article entitled, ‘Who Is America?’ Ends with O.J. Simpson. But Where Was Sarah Palin? that claimed Showtime never aired the Sarah Palin segment in Sacha Baron Cohen’s flagging series.

Which means someone was listening to our prayers. The New York Times article fails to mention the Ventura Family Law blog by name, but if they read us they would know that we don’t mess around when it comes to clowns like Showtime or Sasha Baron Cohen disrespecting America any more than former Senate candidate from Alabama Roy S. Moore does, as he has now followed through on his threat to sue Sacha Baron Cohen for a lot of money.

WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THAT?

The tide is turning as more people are speaking out on the righteous issues and taking a tougher stance against the dark forces than ever before, which is why the former member of the Alabama Supreme Court sued Sacha Baron Cohen. Roy S. Moore too had been duped by the unfunny comedian, who in a segment that aired on Showtime in July appeared as “Erran Morad,” an Israeli antiterrorism expert, who interviewed Moore.

During the interview Cohen brought out a device, which appeared to be a metal detector wand, but which he claimed was an Israeli invention that could detect pedophiles, says a September 5 article in The New York Times. When the device signaled that Mr. Moore could be a pedophile, he became angry and ended the interview.

Former Justice Moore really hadn’t found Cohen’s disrespectful shenanigans all that funny. To prove it he sued Cohen for more than $95 million in damages for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. Showtime, and CBS which owns Showtime, are named as defendants along with Cohen.

There was no mention whether former Judge Moore read our article in Ventura Family Law blog before filing his lawsuit.

 

 

TIL DIVORCE DO US PART: AMERICANS BORROW RECORD $3.5 BILLION FOR WEDDINGS IN 2017

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Alright the stats are in, and they’re mind-boggling. American adults never cease to amaze me in this kind of stuff. Here, more than one million borrowed money last year to pull off their dream wedding. The average amount borrowed to cover the costs was $3,082. To put this into greater perspective, out of 126 million American adults, last year more than one million (1.13 million to be exact) got married. And they borrowed a lot of debt to do it.

U.S. couples borrowed $3.48 billion for weddings in 2017. Most of the couples turned to credit cards or personal loans to finance their nuptials, an article on Finder.com says. Additionally, one in five (21.4%) U.S. adults borrowed cash from family and friends over the past year in order to see their wedding dreams fulfilled.

DON’T BORROW MONEY TO GET DIVORCED

Why bother? is what I ask. Family and friends are cash strapped as well. You don’t need to create the personal stress on a good relationship. Odds are you’re going to end up coming to see us for a divorce sooner or later anyway, so save your friends, your family, and your money for a rainy day. Invest in gold coins. Don’t go into debt over something unless there’s a greater return and a positive cash flow.

I’ve been telling clients for years that all marriages end up in either divorce or death, so what was your rush in this down-turning economy? “Fifty percent of those who get married end up in divorce,” I would say.

Well, I was told I was wrong on that one. I did the research, and okay, maybe I was a off by a few percentage points. It appears the divorce rate may actually be on the decline, but there could be many factors attributable to that like maybe the fact that the marriage rate is declining as well. However, considering all factors, I believe what Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., author, and expert on single people, says regarding the chances that a marriage will end in divorce. According to DePaulo, the divorce expectation rate for those of us who are presently married is probably somewhere between 42 and 45 percent.

In PsychologyToday.com DePaulo cites a 2014 New York Times article reviewing the national divorce rate. “It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce,” Claire Cain Miller wrote in that article. “It has not been for some time.”

BUT AGAIN, WHY BORROW AT A 55% TO 58% CHANCE OF SUCCESS?

Might as well just flip a coin then. Will we stay married … or won’t we? Heads you win, tails I lose. Do the math. Is it worth getting yourself in deeper debt to contractually bind you to a legal relationship that will end at some point anyway? Death or divorce, choose your weapon.

Right now the financial experts are telling us that the financial system is reaching crisis proportion. We’re being told to save as best as we can and to invest in real assets. We’re being told that the U.S. dollar as a paper currency is going to disappear; that we’re turning into a digital currency society. Experts predict, and financial trends indicate, we’re going to experience a severe credit freeze with banks. On top of all that, some of us are thinking of borrowing money to get married? Are we crazy? Are we American?

Good luck.

For those who must do it now, before it’s too late, there are sympathetic ears and advice. Blair Donovan writes for brides.com, giving some ideas about borrowing money for your wedding.

“First, assess the average loan period you are capable of in order to repay your debt on time,” Donovan writes. “Next, evaluate what the most reasonable interest rate might be. A higher interest rate may seem less daunting if your payoff period is short, as in the case of payday loans. However, if you need several months or years to pay back what you owe then a lesser interest rate may be the most sensible option to cover your wedding day expenses.” Or….

You can get married without borrowing. Have the wedding in a national forest with three witnesses, a minister, and a portable hot tub. Much less expensive without the bar tab and no room for in-laws in the tub. Or …

Forget about getting married, save the money, invest it wisely in undervalued assets, and just be friends. Dutch Treat worked great in the 90s, and it’d work just fine for the two of you heading into the Roaring 20s.

 

YOU MUST UNDERSTAND CRYPTOCURRENCY IF YOU DIVORCE

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Cryptocurrencies are here to stay so you might as well learn about them. If you’re married, it could be financially beneficial to understand any involvement your spouse, with or without you, might have with this new financial asset class.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY

Why should you care about cryptocurrency like Bitcoin? Because cryptocurrency can be very valuable community property and hidden from you when it’s time for you to divorce and divide your community assets.

What is cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrency is a digital cash system without a central authority. It is a decentralized system. Cryptocurrency is digital currency.

In 2018 this relatively new digital cash system known as the cryptocurrency market is expected to reach a total value of $1 trillion. According to data from businessinsider.com, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies stood at over $700 billion on January 3rd of this year.

Bitcoin is the leader of all cryptocurrencies. It is based on a blockchain. Blockchain is considered a technology that is changing the way people transact business. Blockchain technology allows us to make transactions without any central review body.

Bitcoin currently has the top cryptocurrency market cap at $140,905,000,000. That’s more than a hundred and forty billion dollars in Bitcoin alone. At the time of this writing, the price of one Bitcoin is $8,269.48.

Roger Ver, CEO at Bitcoin.com, calls Bitcoin technology one of the most important inventions in all of human history. “For the first time ever, anyone can send or receive any amount of money with anyone else, anywhere on the planet, conveniently and without restriction,” Ver says. “It’s the dawn of a better free world.”

It’s the dawn of a better free world if you know where all the community Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency your spouse bought are. But, you know, sometimes they get lost. Other times they get hidden out of plain view, which means you don’t know about them.

TRACING CRYPTOCURRENCY

There’s a lot of money out there in a lot of cryptos – at least $700 billion worth – and some of it might be yours. Cryptocurrency can be held in any number of ways. It can be held in virtual wallets and offline wallets. Your best friend can be holding the profits derived from his Lite Coin purchases in his girlfriend’s aunt’s maid’s name. Your spouse could be holding her Ethereum cryptocurrency stash overseas in a business partner’s name – a business partner you’ve never even heard of.

Bitcoin has been defined as, “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” It is considered a cryptocurrency because users can pseudnonymously transfer money directly to one another, peer to peer, without the use of a middleman like a bank, governmental authority, or Western Union. It’s called pseudononymously because users are assigned a string of numbers as their Bitcoin wallet address where they store their Bitcoins.

The problem in family law is that divorces become contentious and spouses sometimes don’t want to play by the rules — instead choosing to hide assets from their spouse that might otherwise be subject to equitable division in a marital settlement agreement.

Any specialist in family law you hire in divorce should routinely request discovery as to all cryptocurrencies that your spouse, and thus the community, might have an ownership interest in, whether you are aware of any being purchased during your marriage or not. If your spouse has suffered what he or she calls large gambling losses, or large amounts of money are found missing from community accounts, you’re going to want a forensic accounting to locate all suspected missing community assets.

Cryptocurrency can be traced back to a single spouse’s separate property just like any other tracing of a community property asset. It’s just that some assets are more difficult to trace than are others.

There are forensic analysts who specialize in tracking cryptocurrency and they can work to connect Bitcoin wallet addresses, for example, with the users’ actual identities. If large amounts of money are being transferred to a cryptocurrency exchange where cryptocurrencies are being purchased, this must be financially accounted for as well.

Same thing for the discovery of large cash withdrawals or transfers that were used to purchase cryptocurrency at peer-to-peer points of sale like localbitcoins.com. If it can’t be determined where that cash went, and your spouse doesn’t produce evidence re what he or she was doing with that cash, you will want an accounting thereof that leads to an equitable division of the community assets that were lost to you due to your spouse’s unauthorized withdrawals that led to the dissipation of community assets.

BOTTOM LINE IS TO SEARCH THEN SEIZE

Once you find the missing monies invested in hidden places, you have to get them out. That’s your family law specialist’s job, and that’s not always automatic. You might need passwords, usernames, and mnemonic seeds. If your spouse has played in the cryptocurrency market without you, it is possible your spouse has hidden a cache of profits derived from cryptocurrency business transactions in accounts under pseudonyms, other persons or business names, or they could have been transferred abroad.

If your divorce specialist has to go to court in an effort to retrieve hidden assets, your attorney will need to make a clear showing of how the money was transferred from a bank account or from some other community property asset to purchase the community cryptocurrency assets in dispute. When you hire a specialist in family law they can move the court for orders to exert pressure on your spouse to give up control over the hidden cryptocurrencies, and if that is not honored, the court can order an unbalanced division of community assets that will account for your share of the missing cryptocurrency.

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