Burke Levy, P.C.

What does tax reform mean for the future of alimony?

When Massachusetts couples divorce, one of the main concerns on both sides is money. Finances and child custody are the two most hotly contested issues when a marriage is over, and couples often worry about their security and stability after the process is final. One of the specific financial issues that affect some couples is spousal support.

In Massachusetts, the lesser earning spouse could receive financial payments from the other party as part of the divorce order. This would allow him or her to go to school, find a job or adjust to the significant financial changes that a divorce can bring. Several factors, such as the length of the marriage, income levels and work history, can play a role in the amount and duration of spousal support payments.

Tax reform and your financial security

Whether you may have to pay spousal support after your divorce or you hope to get this type of financial support, you will find it beneficial to learn how recent tax reform law could affect you. Here is what you may need to know about the tax reform plan and what it could mean:

  • The new plan means individuals paying alimony will no longer be able to deduct the amount for tax purposes.
  • Individual receiving payments will no longer be taxed on the amount received.
  • These changes are directly opposite from the existing laws — as it stands now, spouses paying alimony can deduct that amount and individuals receiving it are taxed on it.

This significant shift in the alimony system will not take place until after the end of this year. This means that if you plan to divorce during 2018, these changes will not affect you. This also applies to separation agreements signed before the end of the year.

What this means for your divorce

Negotiations over spousal support are some of the most important issues discussed in a divorce. Some believe that this new tax reform could make alimony a more complex issue, eventually leading to less negotiation and the lengthening of complex divorces.

If you are expecting to divorce this year or next, it could be to your benefit to learn about your rights and how you can protect your interests regarding spousal support. It can be beneficial to start by seeking a complete evaluation of your case, which can help you understand your options and the most appropriate course of action for you.

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