If things between you and your spouse are not resolving, and you are in the process of getting a divorce, you must be looking for spousal support. However, there are some important things that you need to understand. Your spousal support attorney will provide you with all the specifics about spousal support. Additionally, here are a few general things that you need to know – tax laws, awarding of spousal support, what may happen if the spousal support payments are not done. But first, let us understand the meaning of spousal support.
What is Spousal Support?
Spousal support, or in other words also known as alimony is a scheme for people who are married legally. It provides financial assistance to them. Spousal support aims to recognize the contributions the partner has made to the marriage and intends to help the partner obtain financial independence. However, the rules for spousal support differ from one state to another.
What is the length of the Spousal Support set by the court?
The length of time for spousal support payments is set by the court based on the review of the arguments made. Payments usually last based on the length of the marriage, if it is less than ten years. For example, let’s say that the marriage lasted for approximately six years. Then, length of the spousal support payments will be paid for three years.
However, in the case of long marriages, the court may not set a specific time-bound for the spousal support payments. In that case, your Knoxville attorney will prove your side for the duration. The attorney will help in establishing the case for the time period you are seeking for spousal support. They will also help you figure out whether you will be receiving or paying the payments. Then, based on the common law, the court will listen to the arguments made and decide on the duration of the spousal support.
What will be the duration of spousal support – Permanent or Lifetime?
When the court passes an order for “Lifetime” or “Permanent” Spousal Support, it means that the support is paid to the receiving spouse till the paying one dies. In some cases, the court also orders to pay for the spousal support until the receiving spouse remarries. But, that’s a rarity. The court sometimes also orders that even if the receiving spouse remarries, they will still be paid for spousal support.
In modern days, since women are becoming stronger in the workforce, the situation of “lifetime” or “permanent” spousal support has become very rare. According to an appellate court, “As recognized by the Supreme Court, the public policy of the state progresses from some women to lifelong alimony as a spousal support contract.”
When the spousal support is determine, the court orders the highest earner – either the husband or the wife to assist the lower earner. This is done to help in maintaining their level of living for a specific period.
Do Financial Situation Changes Affect Spousal Support?
The duration or the length of the spousal support depends on whether the spouse who is receiving the spousal support has any changes in their financial situation. These changes can be – getting a new job, getting a salary raise, higher returns on any investment, etc.
The main purpose of spousal support is to ensure that the financial needs of the receiving spouses are secure. If the receiving spouse no longer needs spousal support to maintain their financial stability, the court has the power to decide that the receiving spousal will no longer need the spousal support they are receiving.
Spousal Support and Divorce Decision Tax Strategy –
Certain basic tax laws need to be kept in mind during and after your divorce if you are the one paying or receiving the spousal support. If you are the receiving spouse, you need to declare spousal support as an income on your taxes. On the other hand, if you are the one paying for the spousal support, you can deduct that from your taxes. Generally, spousal support is different from child support. This is because child support is neither declare nor deduct from your taxes. Your child support attorney will be able to guide you in detail about this.
Taxes and Divorce Ruling –
While calculating the spousal support agreements, this rule must thoroughly remember since it impacts the bottom line of your finances. The decision and the ruling will reflect your intentions during the time you will be doing your taxes. For example, you might decide that the spouse paying for the spousal support will be agreeing to pay the tax liability of the one receiving the spousal support. The same should be discussed with the family law attorney during the hearing of the spousal support determination.
It will be really helpful to discuss and decide on the tax deal that will work for you and your spouse if you both are on good terms with each other. However, it may be difficult to come to a mutual tax decision if you are on bad terms with one another. But, if you can come to a mutual agreement, find a middle ground, then it will save you a ton of time and headache when the tax season arrives.
Prepare for tax season
Once you have received the spousal support, you should prepare for the potential impact during the tax season. Your ex will not be able to withhold the income taxes from your support checks. This means that you are accountable for all the taxes whenever you will be filing for a tax return. Due to this, you must consider paying taxes every quarter. This will save you from the big hit of the tax liability when the 15th of April comes around.
If you are the one paying for the spousal support, you have the option of cutting down on the income taxes. But, you cannot do the same in child support or property distribution. You can get in-depth information on child support from the lawyer for child support. The IRS will scrutinize the spousal support payments frequently for the first three years you make the payments. They do this to make sure that you will not be disguising the support payments as property distribution or anything else related to your divorce.
Your attorney in Knoxville TN understands every in and out of the tax issues related to the divorce. They will help you understand every issue during the spousal support hearings and later on after you start making the payments.
What happens when you are unable to keep up with your spousal payments?
It is not very unusual to fall behind in spousal support payments. This can cause due to several reasons like struggling to find a job, losing a job, or even negligence. If you are the one receiving the payments, your entire life can be in disarray and it also has a very damaging effect.
The bottom line –
These are some of the things that should consider during your divorce and spousal support decision. A skilled spousal support attorney will assist you so that you are sure to receive a fair case. For further advice on spousal support and issues related to divorce, you can contact a skilled attorney in Knoxville. Schedule your consultation with Knoxville attorneys today!