Based on 3 reviews
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Posted by Debra, a Divorce client,
I found Christopher Melcher's name while feverishly researching IRS codes etc., regarding alimony and mortgage contributions. My ex-husband was insisting that I claim not only my spousal support for the entire 2012 tax year as income (which I knew about and was prepared to do) but also his "mortgage contributions" as well.
My ex gave me 40% of the mortgage monthly for the "marital home" from January 2012 to October 2012. This was home, not only to myself, but to our children as well. Both my ex and I were on the deed and the mortgages. I never imagined that mortgage consideration would be taxable to me!
My own attorny was zero help on this. After 2 grueling years of being his annuity, I wasn't surprised that once again, he was unable to give me a definitive answer. That's why I set out on a mission to understand the divorce and IRS tax laws on my own, which quite frankly, is comparable to my becoming a physicist. But I persevered, and came across a terrific article on the topic by Mr. Melcher. I was so impressed with this article that I decided to contact him, even though we were in different states. I was hoping that since this was a federal tax income issue, he might still be able to help me regardless of where I lived.
I am not only happy that I reached out to Chris-- but I'm ecstatic! He responded immediately to my online inquiry and he asked me to email him all the various court orders. I emailed the files and he wrote back-- again on that same day---outlining his advice, answering all my questions concisely and thoroughly.
Thanks to Chris's keen perusal of my 3 court orders, he caught something that I would have never realized (and sadly neither would my own attorney). The one court order that was executed in June of 2012 had modified the September 2011 court order, and made it "retroactive" to September 2011. Chris explained that the IRS will not recognize that type of modification, retroactively. The June 2012 order was modifying the older order for child support, keeping the amount of money the same, but changing the breakdown from all child support to child, spousal and mortgage contribution. Chris explained that the IRS would only recognize the order that was in place at the time of the payments. So.....now this meant that EVERYTHING my ex paid me prior to June 2012--in the eyes of the IRS---would be considered ALL child support!
He also weighed in on the mortgage consideration issue, explaining that since my ex was also on the mortgage at the time of those payments, they were not spousal support, and that it would be a very difficult case for my ex to make. He confirmed my thinking that I should not take those payments as income, and suggested how I could give my ex his "fair portion" of the mortgage interest. This will now be a very small amount since, as Chris pointed out, according to the court documents, there was no mortgage contributions ordered until mId year! Can you say KARMA?!
Chris and I exchanged a couple of emails and we had one phone call (which by the way he made to me while on his family vacation!). Chris is obviously extremely sharp, extremely knowledgable, very kind and he was very generous with his time.
I was also very impressed that on all of Chris's emails, his cell phone is listed along with his other contact info! Very unusual, and I think that says a lot.
Moral of the story? Trust your instincts, be your own advocate, don't be bullied, do your homework, and call Chris Melcher.
If I had a "re-do"- I would live in CA and hire Chris to handle my whole divorce!
Posted by Steve, a Child Support client,
I've been a litigator for over 16 years, and I've chosen Chris to counsel and represesent me in a couple of family law matters over the past six years or so. Chris actually keeps your best interests in mind, and in a divorce or other custody situation, is actually looking out for your kids. He is professional, courteous, knowledgeable, a recognized expert in his field, and is highly respected among family law judges. If you're looking for a family law attorney who's going to fan the flames of acrimony, churn the case, and burn through your savings while promising to deliver your ex's head to you on a silver platter, look elsewhere (by the way that is NOT the kind of attorney you want, believe me). If you're looking for a family law attorney who's going to efficiently and professionally help you make the best out of a bad situation, do so for a reasonable fee, and genuinely look out for you (and your kids), call Chris. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
Posted by Claudio, a Divorce client,
Mr. Melcher helped me through a very long and contested divorce. In many different situations he always had the ability to determine what the real issue was, and to counsel the best course of action. Examples of this were plenty:
- We prevailed in the valuation of my business; the Judge set the value at exactly the amount we proposed (around one eighth of the amount the opposite side wanted). This was no minor issue; I had a business that it was hard to put a price on. The opposite side insisted on a higher payoff amount, the hired several people and constantly tried to make the Court believe that I was a liar; my lawyer was always cool-headed, supported his allegations with hard facts, in a clean, firm, convincing manner. Never got into any name calling, bulling, etc. Believe me, I saw a lot of that while in court waiting for my turn. I saw many lawyers that played the â€œtough cookieâ€ role to please their clients. Chris never resorted to that or any other cheap display. He was simply well prepared, and ready ALL THE TIME, A TRUE PROFESSIONAL.
- Kept my residence and paid my ex-wife the fair market value of the house
- Spousal and Child support was set according with the figures proposed by Mr. Melcher
- Finally, the most important issue to me had to do with custody of my children; all 4 of them ended living with me. Mr. Melcher helped me obtain FULL PHYSICAL AND LEGAL CUSTODY of my son. This was the light at the end of the tunnel, it made it all worth it. I was told by several people that it was â€œvirtually impossibleâ€ to get the full custody of my son, now we live together in big part thanks to Mr. Melcherâ€™s work
Worth mentioning also is his honesty, I NEVER GOT CHARGED FOR ANYTHING THAT WASNâ€™T DONE. I could go over my statement carefully, and identify that the charges made corresponded to services performed.
Finally, his entire law firm team is great; his Partner Mr. Walzer was available anytime we deemed necessary consult with him. The other lawyers, Arlene, the paralegals, secretaries... I knew at all times that I had THE BEST LEGAL TEAM BEHIND ME.
I have recommended him to my best friend, and he was extremely satisfied with the way they handled his divorce.