New tax laws were enacted in 2017, which promised to put more money in taxpayer’s pockets. Some of these changes are just now being implemented and they could have a major impact on couples who anticipate going through a separation or a divorce over the course of 2019. These changes could impact how alimony payments are handled and are something you need to discuss with a family law attorney.
Alimony and Your Divorce
Alimony, or spousal support and maintenance as it is often referred to in the family court, is something that can help a non-working or low-earning spouse get back on their feet in the aftermath of a divorce. Under Section 20-3-130 of the South Carolina Statutes, alimony may be awarded on either a temporary or permanent basis. Payments may be ordered by the judge in your case based on the evidence presented. Or it may be something negotiated through your divorce attorney as part of your marital settlement agreement. Situations in which you may be entitled to alimony in South Carolina include:
If you are unable to work or lack the skills and education to find a job
If your spouse makes considerably more than you or has greater individual assets
If your income is not enough to sustain the manner of living you enjoyed during your marriage
If you sacrificed your own career or education in support of your spouse or your children
Marital misconduct also plays a role in these proceedings. If your spouse engaged in activities such as affairs or chronic gambling, it could increase your chances of getting alimony. However, if you are the one accused of marital misconduct it could prevent you from being awarded alimony by the court.
How New Tax Laws Impact Alimony Payments
Under tax laws which applied in previous years, the person paying alimony could claim these payments as a tax deduction on their yearly federal tax return. This often provided the financial incentive needed to encourage a paying spouse to be generous in the amount agreed to in divorce negotiations, as it could reduce their overall tax debt.
Under the old law, the person receiving alimony was required to claim it as income, which could leave them owing a hefty amount at years end. This was often a factor in choosing not to seek alimony and to instead opt for a larger share in any marital property settlement.
In 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be implementing new tax reforms based on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Under the new rules, paying spouses will no longer be able to take these payments as a deduction, nor is alimony required to be claimed as income.
Discuss Your Case With Our Aiken Divorce Attorney
The Surasky Law Firm, LLC. can provide the legal guidance you need in determining whether you are entitled to alimony and how the new tax code may impact your case. Request a one on one consultation to discuss your situation and contact our Aiken divorce attorney today.