If you are going through a divorce, you may find yourself asking questions about alimony payments. Also known as maintenance payments or spousal support, these payments are meant to provide a means of income for your ex if you were the main breadwinner. This generally won’t apply to short marriages, however, or if you both earned around the amount of income.

How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?

Most divorce issues can be settled without the involvement of the court if you both can agree on an appropriate amount and length of time. If you can’t agree, however, the court will decide those terms for you. While this can make things easier if you can’t communicate effectively, it also means there will be a trial involved, which can be costly and time-consuming.

If the judge orders alimony to be paid, the order will last until:

  • a predetermined date set by the judge
  • one of you dies
  • a meaningful or significant change takes place that convinces a judge to modify or stop the payments
  • your ex-spouse marries someone else
  • your children no longer require full-time care at home

Additionally, a judge may modify or cease the alimony payments if they determine that your ex-spouse has made no significant efforts to support themselves.

How Do Alimony Payments Effect Taxes?

If your divorce took place after 2018, you will not be able to deduct alimony payments on your taxes. Additionally, recipients of alimony payments no longer need to report those payments as part of their gross income. If you were divorced before January 1st, 2019, you may still deduct your alimony payments. If you want to change the way your payments are reported on your taxes, you’ll need to modify the existing agreement to include the new rules.

For people paying alimony, it’s important to keep accurate records. If you can deduct alimony expenses from your income, the IRS may request proof of your payments. Be sure to collect and organize the following records:

  • A copy of each check used to pay your alimony with the month noted on it
  • Signed receipts for each payment (if you pay in cash) with the date and the amount
  • A complete list of your payments for the year including check number, date, amount, and address if it was mailed

Divorce can be messy and complicated, especially if it has left the two of you unable to communicate. If you have questions regarding alimony payments, be sure to contact a divorce lawyer in Fairfax, VA to discuss your options.

Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into family law and paying alimony support.