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Alimony deduction may rush some couples to divorce in 2018

Some individuals may hang around in a bad marriage for a while, because of the fear of change. A recent change in federal tax law may prompt some unhappy individuals to take the plunge sooner to try and avoid alimony law changes before 2019. An individual in Florida who pays alimony to a spouse will no longer be able to deduct the payments if the marriage is finalized after 2018. 

The change comes as part of the new administration's tax overhaul. One among several new rules, the family law policy change has individuals analyzing how it could possibly affect their divorces. A divorce finalized in 2019 will no longer enable the spouse making spousal support payments to deduct the sum from their taxable income, making it a greater financial burden to make these payments. Also in 2019, the person receiving the payments does not have to claim the income to be taxed. 

This year, many couples may rush to finalize a divorce, since the change does not go into effect for one year. Other individuals may find it advantageous to delay the ending, especially if they are receiving the payouts, so that they will not need to claim the money as income. It will depend on the circumstances of the individual, and the changes certainly have people thinking hard about the financial impact of ending a marriage. 

Alimony payments can provide needed support to lower-earning individuals after a divorce. A tax change will not eliminate the need for this type of support; it will simply change how it is treated. For some individuals in Florida, they will want help determining how the change will affect them, if at all. Many have chosen to consult with a family law attorney for more guidance on this issue. 

Source:, "The sick reason many miserable married people are pondering divorce in 2018", Catey Hill, Jan. 26, 2018

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