About Michael Becker

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So far Michael Becker has created 68 blog entries.

Remarriage: Combine Finances or Not?

2020-08-27T16:41:32+00:00 August 27th, 2020|

When combining lives, remarrying partners must decide whether to combine finances or not. It’s not always an easy choice.

Older couples, who often come to the relationship with significant assets or significant obligations from previous relationships, face a particular dilemma. And if they’ve been divorced before, new partners may be uncomfortable discussing finances in detail with a new significant other.

The Wall Street Journal advises that separate shouldn’t mean secret. Whether or not couples intend to combine finances or keep them separate, they should have an honest discussion about their finances a few months before the marriage, so as to allow time to develop a financial plan.

A good start is to list assets, income, debts and day-to-day expenses, to avoid surprises and possible resentment later on.

The 5 Love Languages — A Review

2020-08-27T16:40:08+00:00 August 27th, 2020|

Committed partners often say they wish they could read their partner’s minds. “What does s/he want from me?”  The 5 Love Languages offers hope.

In this easy read, Gary Chapman outlines 5 key ways people show — and hence like to receive — love. For example, some people like to give affirmation (‘you look great in that suit’), and others show caring by physical touch (hugging and holding hands). Chapman says that we usually give love to our partners the way we want to get it back.

My takeaway is that everyone likes to receive love differently. Knowing how you like to be loved, as well as how your partner likes to, can lead to a more connected relationship.

It’s a worthwhile read for couples clinicians and, for that matter, anyone in a relationship.

Remote Workers May Get Tax Surprise

2020-08-27T16:33:15+00:00 August 27th, 2020|

Earlier this year, in less than a week many workers went from going to the office every day to going to the kitchen table to work remotely. Some workers now hope to continue some form of remote work even after the health crisis.

Enter the taxman. People who do their jobs remotely in a state different from their physical office may have created a ‘tax presence’ in the remote state. And the remote state may tax income because services were technically rendered there. Some states tax workers who are there for as little as one day. Ask a consultant how many state income tax returns s/he files.

Some states, such as New Jersey, have agreed to relax their tax rules for remote workers working there due to coronavirus, but others — notably Connecticut and New York — have not issued definitive guidance at the time of this printing.

For advice related to your specific situation, it’s best to consult your tax professional.

Connecticut Now Allows Remote Divorce

2020-08-27T16:30:00+00:00 August 27th, 2020|

For as long as I’ve been in practice, divorcing couples in Connecticut usually had to appear in court to finalize their divorces. This is no longer the case — at least for now.

When coronavirus first hit our area, the Judicial Branch closed most courthouses. While most agreed that this made sense from a public health perspective, it also meant that much of the business of the court stopped, because it was done in person.

The Connecticut Judicial Branch has since developed a procedure by which divorcing couples with agreements can finalize their divorces remotely — without ever going to court. While sometimes cumbersome, I’ve used it multiple times with clients. And it does work, most often well.

This is an obvious convenience to attorneys and clients. And it is, of course, safer in a health crisis.

Problems can arise when Judges have questions about agreements, often answered quickly in in-person hearings. They now require a more formal, often time-consuming procedure.

It’s not yet known whether this will be a permanent change, so stay tuned.

Summer Fall 2020 Newsletter

2020-08-27T23:10:53+00:00 August 27th, 2020|

In this issue:

  • Connecticut Now Allows Remote Divorces
  • Remarriage: Combine Finances or Not?
  • Remote Workers May Get Tax Surprise
  • The 5 Love Languages — A Review

Download Summer Fall 2020 Newsletter

Social Media Gives New Meaning to Emotional Contagion

2019-08-18T16:10:48+00:00 August 18th, 2019|

Can we ‘catch’ emotions from others? Elaine Hatfield, author of the acclaimed book Emotional Contagion, first published in 1994, said yes — and many others have come to agree. The rise of social media since 1994 makes this work even more useful today.

Recent research has focused on emotional contagion through social media. Facebook users exposed to newsfeeds with fewer negative words made fewer negative posts themselves, and those exposed to fewer positive words made fewer positive posts. Similarly, a study of YouTube viewers who watched positive videos experienced more positive emotions; the same held true for negative posts. Important learning, I’d say.

Though the book can be somewhat dense and technical, it’s worth having on your shelf as a reference, if not to read cover to cover.