Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and many of them lead to unpleasant places.

CPE Link instructor Arthur Joseph Werner teaches a calm, rational approach when helping clients navigate life’s rocky road. It’s important for the practitioner to understand clearly — and thus help the client understand — the tax and non-tax issues related to divorce and what he calls other “bad situations.”

Personal bankruptcy, cancellation of debt, foreclosure, repossession and reporting of bad debts all require expert handling. Werner teaches just what planning considerations and potential problems practitioners should watch for.

In the often messy areas of personal relationships, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Werner points out that practitioners must be up on the latest surrounding support issues and tax treatment of back child support, as well as less conventional problems.

The odds are very good that practitioners will have more than a few clients facing such issues. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report, marriages in the country hit an all-time low in 2009, the most recent statistics available.

In some states there are more marriages but also more divorces. For example, in North Carolina 19 marriages took place for every 1,000 of the state’s women in 2009, compared to a rate of 17.6 marriages for women throughout the country as a whole.

However, women in North Carolina had a divorce rate of 10.3 percent per 1,000, up from the country’s overall 9.7 percent. Other Southern states also had relatively high marriage and divorce rates.

Couples who live together, or who do — or do not — have premarital agreements, present a completely separate set of tax and non-tax issues that must be managed. Also on the table are married versus unmarried tax rate comparisons, head of household status and marital property rules.

Werner is a shareholder in the lecture firm of Werner-Rocca Seminars. His areas of expertise include business, tax, financial and estate planning. He’s also an adjunct professor of taxation at Philadelphia University.