As part of a divorce, California residents may be required to make alimony or spousal support payments to their ex-spouses. This requirement often occurs when the ex-spouse stays home to raise the children or otherwise leaves his or her career to take care of household duties. In many cases, those who are required to pay alimony can deduct the payments on their tax returns.
Essentially what this means is that the ex-spouse who receives the alimony payments will have to report the payments as income. However, there are certain requirements that the payment must meet in order for it to be treated as tax-deductible. For starters, the payments must be made in accordance with the divorce agreement. Further, the ex-spouses cannot live in the same household and they cannot file a joint Form 1040.
The payments must also be made to the ex or on behalf of the ex. The payments can be made to an attorney or mortgage lender if it is stated in the divorce agreement. The payments must be made in cash and must cease if the ex dies. Finally, the divorce agreement cannot explicitly state that the payments are not alimony.
Even if a former couple can work together to amicably end their marriage, failing to meet certain requirements could cost one or both of the ex-spouses money. A family law attorney may assist with the financial aspects of the divorce, including negotiating alimony and any other payments that may be made to the ex-spouse as part of the divorce agreement.