Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Spousal support -- keeping records is very important

After a couple has gone through a separation or divorce, one party may be responsible for paying an amount of money to an ex on a regular basis.  Spousal support is not a given, and generally a New Jersey judge will have to decide if one spouse will be required to make payments to another. Although, there is a trend to move away from ordering alimony, awards are still made when the couple divorcing or separating has been married for a long period and one person earned much more that the other or stopped working to take care of the children or home.

When an award for spousal award is made, it is important for both parties to maintain records of payments.  Alimony payments are taxable income to the payee and may also deducted from tax by the payor. Not keeping records may be detrimental, as tax deductions may not be awarded or even worse an embittered spouse may challenge payments made or even complain to the IRS.

It is advisable for the person making the payments to keep records of all payments made. Records should be as detailed as possible, providing a clear historical trail to serve as proof when needed. Some lawyers may advise that these records should never be destroyed, but if this becomes problematic records should be kept for at least three years in case of an audit by the IRS.

The person receiving the payments will also benefit from keeping detailed records. Once again the records should be kept for at least three years for tax purposes. Records can also assist when an ex-spouse stops payments as proof of when the payments stopped in order to seek judicial relief.   

Spousal support can be a sensitive matter, especially when the divorce is messy. A New Jersey family lawyer can offer advice and support before, during and after a divorce. Lawyers skilled at negotiation and mediation are in an ideal position to assist in ensuring an agreeable outcome for their clients.     

Source: FindLaw, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony", Accessed on Feb. 8, 2017

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