An Italian judge has ruled that it is not a crime that a man from Padua, Italy paid his spousal support in pizza.
NOT A CRIME TO PAY SPOUSAL SUPPORT IN PIZZA
“In lieu of money, the defendant offered his ex-wife the same amount of compensation in the form of take-away pizzas from his workplace, an offer promptly rejected as “beggar’s change,” wrote Italian judge Chiara Bitozzi in her ruling. Chef Nicola Toso divorced his wife Nicoletta Zuin in 2002. As part of their divorce agreement, Toso agreed to pay about $335 in monthly support payments. When his restaurant business took a major financial hit in Italy’s 2008 crisis, he did what he could, and offered to pay his ex-wife in the only way he could – with food from his restaurant, including pizza. From 2008 to 2010, Toso provided food to his ex-wife instead of the agreed-upon currency that was in their initial divorce agreement. Then Zuin decided in 2010 that this was not satisfactory and took her ex-husband to court, citing the fact that he was unable to provide alimony. Toso’s attorney argued that since Toso had fallen on hard times, he did what he could and was able to successfully fulfill all other custody obligations. Judge Bitozzi agreed, and went on to rule that no crime had been committed.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is for people who were legally married and provides financial assistance to them. It recognizes the contributions a partner made to the marriage and is intended to help the partner obtain financial independence. The rules regarding spousal support differs from one state to another.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT
When a court hears a case for spousal support, it considers a number of issues including how long the marriage lasted, what the needs are of each spouse, the standard of living the marriage created and maintained, assets, spousal age, and many other factors that are specific to different states. The court sets the length of time spousal support payments are made based on the review of arguments made. Payments typically last about the length of the marriage if it’s less than 10 years. In other words, if the marriage lasted six years, the length of spousal supports payments to be paid is three years. For longer marriages, the court may not set a specific time for spousal support payments. In a case such as this, your divorce attorney must proved your side for the duration. Your attorney can help you establish your case for the amount of time you’re seeking for spousal support, whether you are receiving or paying the payments. Using common law, the court will listen to all arguments and then decide on the spousal support duration.
LIFETIME OR PERMANENT SPOUSAL SUPPORT
“Lifetime” or “Permanent” spousal support is when the support must be paid to the receiving spouse until the paying spouse dies. Sometimes it is ordered to be paid until the receiving spouse remarries, however this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the court will rule that even if the receiving spouse remarries they must still be paid spousal support. Since women are becoming a stronger element in the workforce, “permanent” or “lifetime” spousal support is being awarded less often, if at all. An appellate court has stated:
As recognized by our Supreme Court, the public policy of this state has progressed from one which entitled some women to lifelong alimony as a condition of the marital contract of support, to one that entitles eithis spouse to post-dissolution support for only so long as is necessary to become self-supporting.
When determinig spousal support, the court usually requires the highis earner, whether they are the husband or the wife, to assist the lower earner in an effort to help maintain their standard of living for a specified period of time.
If you are receiving spousal support is that you have to declare it as income on your taxes. agreements, you have to remember this rule since it impacts the bottom line of your finances. The decision and ruling reflects your intentions when it’s time to do your taxes. For example, you may decide that the spouse who is paying the spousal support should agree to pay the tax liability of the spouse who is receiving the spousal support. You should discuss this with your family law attorney during the hearing for your spousal support determination. If you’re still on good terms with your spouse, it would be helpful to discuss and decide on the best tax deal that would work for you both. If you’re not on good times, this might be difficult to come to a mutual tax deal decision, but if you can manage come to a mutual agreement it will save both of you lots of time and headaches when it’s tax season. If you get spousal support you should prepare for a potential impace when tax time comes. Your ex isn’t able to withhold income taxes from your support checks, which means you have to account for the taxes when you file your tax return. Because of this you may want to consider paying taxes on a quarterly basis, which will save you from being hit with a big tax liability when April 15th comes around. If you’re paying spousal support remember you can deduct the payments on your income taxes. However, you can’t deduct child support or any property distribution. The IRS frequently scrutinizes spousal support payments for the first three years you make the payments. This is to make sure that you’re not disguising the spousal support payments as property distribution or something else related to your divorce. A divorce attorney understands all the ins and outs of tax issues relating to divorce, and can help you understand the issues during the spousal support hearings and afterward, after you begin to make the payments.
Often times the issue of spousal support is written into a prenuptial agreement. This is actually a standard part of a prenuptial agreement, and one that you’ll want to include when drafting an agreement. While prenuptial agreements are often associated with celebrity couples such as Cuoco and Sweeting, they’re not just meant for high-income families. In fact, any couple should consider signing a prenuptial agreement, especially those who bring personal or business assets to the marriage. The most basic of these prenuptial contracts provide a list of premarital assets that will need to be decided upon should the marriage end in divorce. They can save a lot of headaches further down the line.
WHAT CAN BE INCLUDED
There are a number of things that can be included on a prenuptial agreement, including the following:
- Determination of marital and community property
- Protection from each others debts – you are able to use a prenup to limit your liability for each other’s debts.
- Provisions for children from previous marriages
- If you want to keep property in your birth family
- Define who will receive what in divorce
- Clarify marriage responsibilities including:
- if you plan to file joint or separate income tax returns or to allocate income and tax deductions on separate tax returns
- who’s responsible for paying the household bills – and how
- joint bank accounts and how to manage them
- agreements about large purchases including houses
- how you wish to handle credit card charges
- agreements for money decisions including setting aside money or continued education
- how you want to handle large disagreements and potential divorce
CAN’T DO WITH PRENUP
There are some things you are not able to include on a prenuptial agreement, including the following:
- restrict child support, custody, or visitation rights
- give up alimony – this is state specific, so you’ll want to work with an attorney to understand your state’s laws.
- make rules about nonfinancial matters, including:
- responsibility for household chores such as laundry or keeping the cars clean
- agreements regarding children or having children
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
There are various things to be taken into consideration during divorce and spousal support decision. A skilled and qualified family law attorney can assist you to make sure you receive a fair case. For advice on divorce and spousal support issues you need an expert law firm such as (619) DIVORCE.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 431-3131