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How to know if a payment is alimony

Virginia residents and others who receive alimony are often required to count it as income. Those who make such payments are generally able to take a tax deduction. Of course, a payment actually has to qualify as alimony before a person can claim that the payments are tax deductible. To qualify as alimony, a payment has to be part of the divorce decree or a similar arrangement.

Payments cannot be made to someone who files a joint tax return with the payer. The payments must also be in cash, check or money order, and the payments cannot be made to someone who lives in the same household at the time that they are made. Payments that are specifically designated as a property settlement, child support or something other than alimony do not qualify. Tax authorities may also look to determine if payments no longer need to be made after the recipient passes away.

This may be determined by looking to see if there is any language in the divorce agreement or elsewhere that specifically states this to be the case. If there is not, state law may determine if payments would typically stop after a person dies. If it is still not clear as to whether payments terminate at the time the recipient dies, they are generally not considered alimony.

Those who are filing for a divorce may wish to talk with a family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to talk more about alimony as well as parental rights if an individual had children from the marriage. This might help an individual learn more about how much of a payment may be alimony and how to make it clear that payments are alimony in an effort to avoid potential tax issues.

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