Maggio Law Firm, PC

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What should you do if you pay or receive alimony?

Sometimes when a couple files for divorce, a judge may order that the splitting couples will have alimony involved in their divorce. It isn't a guarantee that it will be involved in your divorce, even if one spouse is on better financial footing than the other -- but it could happen. In order for alimony to be involved, there has to be a legitimate financial need on the part of one spouse, and the other spouse must have the legitimate capacity to fulfill that financial need.

If alimony is indeed involved in your divorce, then each spouse will want to prepare themselves for the months ahead (or for however long the alimony payments last). Each spouse will need to keep records about the payments for a couple of key reasons.

The first reason is for taxes. If you are the paying spouse, you can deduct your payments from your taxes; and, conversely, the receiving spouse has to include their alimony payments in their income for tax purposes.

The other reason is for validity. Having a record of your alimony payments is crucial, just in case legal challenges or appeals are made in regards to those payments. If your spouse says he or she wrote you a check already, or if they claim they haven't received a check yet, having that record of payments will support the truth.

Now, the records you want to keep are fairly simple -- but you must keep diligent about keeping them. The paying spouse should get a checkbook that makes carbon copies of any check written. If you don't have that, then keep a detailed list of the date the check was written, the amount it was for, the check number, where the check was sent to and when it was deposited. The receiving spouse should keep similar records. Also, if checks aren't possible, then the spouses should create receipts for cash payments.

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