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Seeking guidance on how tax changes might affect one's divorce

Upon deciding to take separate paths in life, married couples in California or elsewhere may face difficult decisions, many of which could have a significant impact on their lives. With factors to consider such as property division, those who are facing divorce may already view the process with a certain level of concern. However, changes to how spousal support will be taxed could only add to the difficulty of the situation, and becoming informed on this topic prior to entering negotiations is advisable.

While not present in all divorces, in some cases, a divorce decree may provide that one party must pay the other a specified amount of spousal support over a set period. While this could prove a highly contested topic, there are currently incentives that assist in the negotiation of such support. Individuals who pay spousal support can file this amount as a deductible on their taxes, while those on the receiving end must file it as earned income.

Under the new tax law, spousal support will no longer be a factor in the way a person files taxes. It will no longer act as an eligible deduction, and those who receive payments will not file it as income. While this change doesn't affect the current tax season, it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 and could have a substantial influence on a person's decisions during the end of a marriage.

While the time frame involved with such a change could leave some couples feeling some level of pressure, making hasty decisions regarding divorce is never advisable. Individuals who wish to protect their financial futures could speak with a family law attorney for guidance on how these changes might affect them. An attorney can provide a client in California with guidance in every aspect of divorce and assistance in pursuing the most favorable outcome possible regarding his or her future.

Source:, "New tax plan could result in stickier divorces", Neal Augenstein, Feb. 12, 2018

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