Following the Rules of Alimony

Care must be taken in the payment of alimony. IRC 71 sets forth the parameters the payments must meet to be considered alimony. They are as follows:

  • The payments must be in cash. Checks or money orders are acceptable, but not debt, property, or services.
  • The payments must be provided for in a divorce or a written agreement. This means that the payor cannot go back eight months ex post facto and call what payments to date alimony.
  • No alimony may be claimed for any payments during a year the couple files a joint tax return.
  • No alimony may be claimed for any payments during a time when spouses live in the same residence. (Separate quarters in the same residence do not count, nor do different bedrooms, nor different wings. The spouses have to live in separate dwellings under different roofs.)
  • The payments must stop when the recipient spouse dies.
  • This isn't really a requirement, but because you can opt out of alimony treatment, there's a logical provision that if you say it's not alimony, it's not alimony.



Suggested Reading
The Spousal Support Handbook The Spousal Support Handbook
Spousal support is one of many issues that is often difficult for spouses to agree upon. Before negotiating and even signing an agreement regarding spousal support it is very important that you understand your rights and the repercussions of any actions taken.

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