BROOKLYN, New York. If you are getting divorced and you and your spouse earn significantly different salaries, the person making more money may be required to pay alimony to the person making less. In general, couples must have been married for more than a few years for alimony to be awarded. Alimony is designed to ensure that individuals can maintain a standard of living they may have had during their marriage. If you stayed home to raise children or if you supported your spouse in his or her schooling or career, alimony can ensure that you receive compensation for your contribution to the marriage.
Women often stay home to raise their children. Even when they maintain their careers, they may reduce their responsibilities at work, may miss out on promotion opportunities, or may struggle to balance work and child rearing. The reality is that becoming a mother in our society often comes at the cost of a woman’s career. As one mother told QZ, “The opportunity cost of raising my own children was losing my career.”
Women who are getting divorced often have to return to the work force to support themselves and their children. Yet, they may have spent months or years out of work to raise their children. Alimony is designed to ensure that these women can continue to support themselves and their children. It is also designed to help women get the work retraining and skills they may need to rejoin the workforce, if this is possible. However, in the coming year, alimony will be changing as a result of the Trump administration’s new tax law.
Starting in January, the alimony tax deduction will change. In the past, the person receiving the alimony payments would pay taxes on the amount and the spouse paying the alimony would be able to deduct the alimony payment from their income. For couples getting divorced in the new year, the spouse paying alimony will have to pay taxes on the amount being paid, while the spouse receiving the payments won’t have to pay taxes on the alimony paid. While this might sound like a good deal for the spouse receiving alimony, it could backfire in the divorce settlement process. Alimony payers might be able to pay less going forward because of the increased tax burden will lower the couple’s collective disposable income amounts. When you look at what both parties pay to the government, the government collects more money from both parties, while the old system allows both parties to keep more of their money.
According to USA Today, couples who finalize their divorce before the new year can get grandfathered into the old tax system, while couples who file their divorce after the new year could face an additional tax burden as a result of the change. Some divorce attorneys believe that the changes might impact how much alimony their clients will be able to receive in the new year because the tax benefits of paying alimony were a benefit that encouraged larger awards. Some divorce attorneys are concerned that the changes to the tax law could make alimony negotiations more difficult and complex going forward.
Are you entitled to receive alimony? The answer to the question will depend on many circumstances—such as how long you were married, how much money you make, and how much money your spouse makes. If you have questions about alimony, reach out to the divorce lawyers at the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York. Our firm can help you understand your rights and options under the law.
Visit us at https://www.elliotgreenlaw.com/ to learn more.
Elliot Green Law Offices
32 Court Street, Suite 404
Brooklyn, NY 11201