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What Is Alimony?

Alimony is the obligation that is established by law that both spouses have to support each other during the marriage, and it may continue even after the marriage has been legally terminated. Alimony following the legal separation of a couple is not always granted either. One of the spouses must request that alimony be paid following the legal separation of the couple and it must be granted by a figure of the law before it can take place. The amount of the alimony to be paid and the other terms of the alimony is to be decided by the circumstances of the separation. The terms of the alimony will also include the length of the alimony payments to be made. Both parties of a divorce can agree on the terms of alimony in a binding written instrument prior to the legal proceedings of the divorce and these terms are legal. If the two parties do not agree to the terms of the alimony then they will be decided following the litigation process by the judge presiding over the hearings. The spouse that receives alimony payments from the other spouse is considered to be receiving income if it is taking place in the United States. The alimony payments are deducted from the income of the spouse that is making the payments.

What Does The Tax Code Say About Alimony?

The Internal Revenue Code, Section 71, states that alimony must be included in the recipient’s income and can be excluded from the payer’s gross income. The payments must meet the following requirements if they are to qualify as alimony:

  • The payment is a cash payment.
  • The payment is received by a “divorce or separation instrument.”
  • The instrument does not specify that the payments are not for alimony.
  • The payer and payee are not members of the same household when the payments are made.
  • There is no liability to make the payments for any period after the death or remarriage of the recipient.
  • Alimony payments and their length are affected by a variety of options. Those options include the length of the marriage, the time the couple was separated during the marriage, the age of the parties at the time of the divorce, the relative income of the parties, the future financial prospects of the parties, the health of the parties, the fault in the marital breakdown and the gender of the person.

Contact Coover & Associates To Learn More

Are you or a loved one supposed to be receiving alimony payments from another spouse but the payments have stopped? It is imperative that you contact our family law attorneys today for expert legal counsel. Call us at 717-461-7789 or reach out to us online.