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Articles and publications

Articles: 173
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By Robert S. Steinberg, Attorney, CPA, CVA
My two Tax Wars Blog( posts on October 6, 2011 discussed and criticized the Nebraska Court of Appeals decision (Bock v. Dalbey, 19 Neb. App. 210, 809 N.W.2d 785 (2011)), upholding a trial court’s order requiring Mathew Bock and Jennifer Dalbey, divorced in August 2010, to file joint federal income tax returns for the years 2008 and 2009. They were married in 2006 and had filed jointly for the year 2007. Dalbey did not want to file a joint return with her former spouse although the election to file jointly was available to them because they were married on December 31 of 2008 and December 31, 2009, the dates which determine marital status for those years. The lower court had ordered Bock to pay the tax on the joint return and filing jointly would have produced a lower tax liability for him than would have resulted on a Married Filing Separate Return. But Dalbey had little income and signing the joint return would have subjected her to joint and several liability for her former husband’s tax liability if he did not pay the tax due on the return or was assessed additional taxes on audit. Dalbey appealed the Court of Appeal’s ruling upholding the trial court’s order that the spouses file a joint return. Read More »


By Robert S. Steinberg, Attorney, CPA, CVA
April 17 (an anomaly for 2012 as tax day usually falls on April 15) has passed and those who have already filed their annual income confession can breathe a sigh of relief. Those on extension are still taking tranquilizers. Tax time is always worrisome and often painful but April 2013 promises more worry and pain than in recent memory. Truly, “Tax Day is the one day a year we’re all conservatives.” (Scott Stantis, comic strip, “Prickly City”)

A study, recently reported, found that auto accidents spike on April 15 of every year. It is also known that the Titanic, hit an iceberg at 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912 and went to the bottom of the sea at 2:20 AM on April 15. On board were numerous wealthy elites including Astor, Widener, Guggenheim and Levi Straus, the founder of Macy’s, all of whom had amassed great fortunes without paying income taxes. In fact, the 16th Amendment permitting a direct tax on income was not ratified until February of the following year. Could this have a harbinger of the coming tax scourge? Did the long arm of the coming great tax God reach up and grab those untaxed wealthy by the scruff of their silk lapels and pull them down? Were they rocking the boat against Stubby Kaye’s song warning, in the Broadway Musical show, “Guys and Dolls”(Frank Loesser), “Sit down You’re Rocking the Boat”, “or, the devil will drag you under?” Or, was this William Butler Yeats’ prophesy:

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned”
(Poem, “The Second Coming”)

The Titanic sinking was the 9/11 of that era, shattering confidence. People began to wonder, Walter Lord in his book “A Night to Remember,” (made into the starkly realistic movie of the same name), states, “If wealth meant so little on this cold April night, did it mean so much the rest of the year?” Life can be equally and helplessly fragile for the... Read More »

CONNELL v. CORCORAN Maureen O'CONNELL, Respondent, v. Ellen CORCORAN, as Executrix of John J. O'Connell, Deceased, Appellant.

November 20, 2003
 Matthew J. Clyne, Albany, for appellant.Friedman and Molinsek, P.C., Delmar (Michael P. Friedman of counsel), for respondent.


In 1959, plaintiff Maureen O'Connell and now-deceased John J. O'Connell were married in New York.1 Eight children were born of the marriage, all currently emancipated.   In 1982, plaintiff moved out of the marital residence and commenced a New York divorce action based on cruel and inhuman treatment.   After trial, Supreme Court dismissed the action for failure of proof and the Appellate Division affirmed (116 A.D.2d 823, 497 N.Y.S.2d 211 [3d Dept.1986] ).   Thereafter, plaintiff and decedent continued to reside separately.   The children lived with plaintiff, and decedent paid child support.

In 1993, plaintiff established residence in Vermont.   Thereafter, in 1994, she commenced a divorce action in the Family Court of Vermont pursuant to Vermont's no-fault divorce law, which permits divorce when “a married person has lived apart from his or her spouse for six consecutive months and the court finds that the resumption of marital relations is not reasonably probable” (Vt. Stat. Ann., tit. 15, § 551[7] ).   Decedent was served with a complaint seeking divorce, and by letter answer opposed the  divorce.   A final hearing was scheduled for December 21, 1994.   Decedent received notice from the Vermont court, requesting that he appear at the hearing on the divorce and motion for property division.   Decedent appeared pro se, although New York counsel accompanied him and was available in the courtroom.

During the hearing, plaintiff's counsel informed the Vermont court that plaintiff was seeking only a divorce.   When the court inquired about property division, counsel explained that all of the parties' marital assets were located in New York State and the Vermont court lacked jurisdiction to distribute the proper... Read More »

Contested Russian Divorce

In the Name of the Russian Federation

Saint Petersburg

Justice of the Peace of judicial district No. XXX of Saint Petersburg XXXXXX with participation of secretary XXXXXXXXXX, having examined in the course of the public court hearing civil case concerning the divorce action of XXXXXXXXXXXXX-A against XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,


The plaintiff filed present lawsuit to the court specifying that it has been officially married to the defendant since XX.XX.2001. Their marriage was registered by Wedding Palace No. 1 of Saint Petersburg, registration number XXXX. The parties have two children. The family has actually broken. Since XX.XX.2009 the plaintiff and the defendant have been living at different residential addresses, running independent household and financial budget. Children live together with the plaintiff, the defendant pays monthly child support. There are no disputes and disagreements about place of residence of children, about charge of child support, as well as division of property and debts.

The plaintiff appeared before the court and affirmed the claim in full volume, and explained that the court of USA has adjudged that the defendant should pay the child support and determined the procedure of visiting the children, as well as made a decision that the children should live with the plaintiff. According to the applicable law of USA, it is also necessary to submit a tax declaration, and if the parties are married and live together, then the tax declaration should also be filed together for the purpose of receipt of tax exemptions. Based on the tax declaration as of 12.31.2008, it is possible to make a conclusion that the plaintiff was living together with the defendant, and they filed a joint declaration; the declaration had a reference to both the defendant and the plaintiff. However, based on tax declaration as of 12.31.2009 and 12.31.2010, it is possible to make a conclusion that the defendant filed a separa... Read More »

Judgments of divorce delivered by Russian courts are recognized by US courts and vice versa

Judgments of divorce delivered by Russian courts are recognized by US courts and vice versa.
For example I have a judgment delivered by a Russian court which dissolved the marriage between the parties and determined that the mother shall be the custodial parent. The father didn’t agree with the judgment. The US court expressly recognized the judgment to the extent of dissolution of the marriage but declared that only Illinois courts have jurisdiction over the children. Thereafter the parties initiated property division and custody proceedings in the USA.

In other case the husband took legal action in Russia. He requested the court to dissolve the marriage, divide the property and determine the custodial parent. The Russian court satisfied the claims. The respondent didn’t acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Russian court. As a result the Michigan court recognized the judgment to the extent of dissolution of the marriage but retried the case to the extent of custody and division of the property.

In a third case the husband brought the action for divorce in the Russian court. The wife didn’t receive the summon but retained her place of residence in Russia on that ground the court declared that the summon was properly served and dissolved the marriage. In New York the wife challenged the judgment of divorce delivered by the Russian court. The New York court decided that the divorce was legal and delivered a separate property division judgment.

In a fourth case the parties dissolved their marriage in Russia and at the same time the wife recovered spousal support from the husband who resided in Colorado. The Colorado court asked for my expert opinion when it was taking the decision on recognition of the judgment delivered by the Russian court. Eventually, the divorce was recognized but the spousal support was not due to the differences in procedures applicable in Russian and Colorado.

As mention in the judgment of the New York court, the US courts... Read More »
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