Making The Complex

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Here’s how the new tax structure will change spousal support

Few Louisiana residents enjoy making alimony payments. That said, many are at least partially comforted by the fact that spousal support payments can be claimed as a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction on their income taxes. That deduction is slated to end, however, based on the freshly passed and signed Republican tax bill. 

Currently, spouses who pay alimony can claim a tax deduction, while those who receive alimony payments have to claim the money as taxable income. Once the new tax rules take effect, spousal support will be treated the same as child support. There will be no tax deduction for the payer, and no tax obligation for the payee. 

Those who are against the change fear that this will create additional hardships for divorcing spouses. The individual tasked with making the payments will have a higher tax bill. The individual receiving payments could face a more arduous negotiation process during a divorce

There is little question that this change will harm the bottom line for many Louisiana spouses who make spousal support payments. What remains to be seen is how couples will approach divorce once the changes take effect. If there is an effort to “compensate” the paying spouse for his or her higher tax bill, that could come in the form of reduced monthly payments, or a different division of marital assets. Fortunately, the changes don’t take effect until the end of 2018, so there is no need to rush a divorce filing in the early months of the year. 

Source:, “Why You Don’t Have to Rush to Get a Divorce Before 2018“, Alexis Leondis, Dec. 18, 2017


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