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Conditions for deducting alimony payments

Kansas divorcees who pay alimony may want to make sure that their spousal payments are tax deductible. It is necessary to meet certain conditions for that to be the case.

For starters, the alimony must be part of a written separation or divorce agreement. It has to be made on the behalf of a former spouse or directly to the former spouse. For example, a payment could be made to an attorney or mortgage lender and still be considered alimony. However, the payments must be in the form of cash or its equivalent.

The divorce or separation agreement cannot specify that the payment is not alimony. One example would be if the agreement specifically stated that the amount is not taxable. If a portion of the payment is child support, that portion cannot be deducted. If child support is not explicitly named as such, it can be identified as the part of the payment that ends if the child marries, reaches a certain age, moves out of the home, gets a job, reaches a certain income level or finishes school. The ex-spouses must live at separate addresses after the divorce is final and cannot file a joint Form 1040 for tax purposes.

There are a number of other elements of divorce besides alimony that must be decided, and a divorcing couple has a choice between litigation and negotiation in the divorce process. Property division and child custody may be worked out in these negotiations. With legal assistance, the couple may be able to come up with a flexible arrangement. A judge would then review the agreement to ensure that it is in line with state law.

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