Alimony (spousal maintenance) in flux: What does it all mean?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2018 | Firm News, high asset divorce

Some would-be divorcing parties in Illinois and nationally have personal circumstances that logically dictate their focus on discussions surrounding alimony (sometimes called spousal maintenance) payments.

Many of those individuals have likely noted a great deal of discussion that has centered on that topic in past months, and wonder how related details might legally play out in their divorce outcomes.

That is understandable, because alimony is a big deal to both the payer and recipient. Current federal law provides that the former gets an IRS tax deduction for payments, with the latter declaring maintenance payments as taxable income.

The clock is ticking on that arrangement, which has held intact for decades. The recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts contains a materially important alimony provision that mandates key changes effective from January 1 of next year.

In a nutshell, tax-related specifics relative to spousal maintenance get turned upside down from that day forward. Payers will no longer receive a deduction, nor will recipients be required to account for alimony on their tax returns.

Will that make a difference to many couples this year in their assessments regarding divorce timing and negotiations?

It could, although commentators range in their views regarding how the looming change will spur behavior in given circumstances. Some say that payers might want to expedite matters to ensure their deduction, with others contending that some of those individuals might opt for waiting in order to argue for lower payments next year. Conversely, recipients will have varied reasons for seeking a divorce with dispatch or for waiting, respectively.

A party with thoughts focused on alimony might understandably have questions or concerns regarding duties and/or entitlements both now and in the future. Those can be candidly and confidentially discussed with a proven Illinois family law attorney.