If spousal support is paid to one party by Court order or written
agreement, such amounts are taxable income to that party and the amount of
such payments are deductible for tax purposes from the income of the paying
It is generally desirable for the parties to agree as to who will claim
the dependency exemption of the minor children for tax purposes. Under
existing law, the custodial parent is entitled to claim all children in his
or her custody as dependents for tax purposes, regardless of the amount of
child support paid by the other party. The parties are still free to
allocate the dependency exemptions differently, if they choose to do so.
You should seek the advice of your accountant as to specific details
concerning tax returns.
Each party must keep a record of all support payments made or received,
as the case may be, including the date and amount of each payment. In the
event of a dispute, those records are indispensable.
If you have not received a Judgment dissolving your marriage before the
end of the year, you may file an individual tax return (married, filing
separately), or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult
with your accountant as to the advantages of these alternatives.
Certain portions of the fees paid to attorneys and/or accountants may be
deductible for federal and state income tax purposes, and clients should
certainly ask for advice on such deductibility when preparing annual tax
You may obtain from your local Internal Revenue Service Office special
information booklets regarding: "Tax Information for Divorced Individuals" (Publication 504); "Personal Exemptions" (Publication 501); "Tax Information on Selling Your Home" (Publication 523); and "Basis of Assets" (Publication
Joint or sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and other factors that include 1) the preference of the child, 2) the desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving relationship between the child and the other parent, 3) the child's health, safety and welfare, the nature and contact with both parents and 4) the history of alcohol and drug use. Marital misconduct may be considered.
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