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How the New Tax Law Will Affect Alimony Payments in Florida

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Although you may have heard that the recently enacted tax law will make wide ranging changes in a number of areas, you may not be aware that some of the biggest changes were made to laws regulating alimony. To learn more about how these changes could affect your own alimony payments, please contact an experienced alimony lawyer who can explain your legal rights and obligations.

Prior Law  

Under Florida law, courts are required to look at a variety of factors before determining how much alimony a person must pay, including:

  • The receiving spouse’s need for financial assistance;
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage;
  • The ages of the parties;
  • The length of the parties’ marriage;
  • The amount that each spouse financially contributed to the marriage;
  • Whether one spouse gave up his or her career to care for the couple’s children;
  • The emotional and physical health of the parties;
  • The assets held within the marriage as compared to those held separately; and
  • The couple’s income during the marriage.

After assessing these factors, Florida courts award alimony, usually to the spouse who earns less money. Under prior law, the paying spouse could then claim those payments as a tax deduction, while the receiving spouse was required to report them as taxable income.

Recent Changes  

Under the recent tax amendments, alimony payments can no longer be deducted on the payor’s tax return and recipients do not have to report them as taxable income. Fortunately, the new law is not retroactive, so it only applies to those who get divorced after December 31, 2018. Critics argue that these changes will make it more difficult to obtain divorce settlements because the tax deduction was previously used as a bargaining chip during negotiations. For instance, the paying spouse may not agree to pay as much, as he or she will now need to pay taxes on the amount. There are also reports that the amendments could initiate another alimony reform bill, although the governor has vetoed two such bills on prior occasions.

If you are considering divorce and believe that you may be required to pay alimony, it could be in your best interest to begin the process of filing now before the new changes go into effect, as settlements and divorce decrees will not be subject to the new laws until the end of 2018. Those who believe that they will be receiving alimony payments upon divorce may want to consider delaying filing until the deadline has passed, as their payments will then be tax-free. In either case, it is critical for those who are thinking about filing for divorce to speak with an experienced alimony lawyer who can advise them on the impact of the new laws.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Dedicated Fort Lauderdale Alimony Attorney 

If you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce, you need the guidance and support of an experienced attorney. Please call 954-945-7591 today to speak with dedicated Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about your own case.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.08.html

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