Individuals must consider the tax consequences of obligations related to spousal support or maintenance, also known as alimony, in divorce proceedings. Many soon to be ex-spouses often fail to realize that there are tax consequences for these types of payments, which may cause further economic hardship and even emotional stress.
Spousal support typically refers to the money a legally married spouse pays to the other spouse while they are still married. Spousal support may last as long as the marriage continues. Spousal maintenance consists of payments an ex-spouse pays to his or her ex-spouse after the dissolution of the marriage. The amount and duration of spousal maintenance are defined in the divorce decree. Some states refer to spousal maintenance as alimony. It often is used as a generic term to describe both types of support and will be used as such in this blog.