Usually at this time of every year, more and more people become frustrated with the complexities of U.S. tax laws. In the case of divorced dads, many are left scratching their heads when they realize that alimony and child support are not treated equally. Fathers who pay alimony can write those payments off as tax deductions. But in the wise words of Hall & Oates, when it comes to writing off child support? No can do.
Why are alimony and child support viewed differently by Uncle Sam? In a nutshell, child support isn’t seen as money going from one parent to the other. Rather, it is viewed as going to the custodial parent on behalf of the child.
Another important reminder for child support at tax time is that either one of you may be able to claim your child as a dependency exemption. Who actually does is determined by what you and your ex agree to or by what the court orders.
If you’re having trouble staying current with your child support payments, we encourage you to begin a modification process ASAP. (We can help you with that!) Any missed payments could position you for wage garnishment or other harsh actions.
Alimony Can Be a Good Thing
If you are the one ordered to pay alimony, you should be sitting pretty this time of year as you can deduct those payments from your gross income. Likewise, your ex must include the payments as a part of their gross income.
There are a few strict rules to remember about alimony. In order to count as alimony, the payment must be:
- Made while both parties are not living in the same household
- Paid in cash, check or money order
- Received by or on behalf of one of the parties
An important thing to remember is that alimony cannot come in the form of providing a service for your ex, like providing lawn care or cleaning their home.
We Can Help You!
If you’d like to talk more about child support, alimony or any other topics regarding divorce, we’d love to speak with you. Contact the offices of the Men’s Legal Center in San Diego at (619) 234-3838.