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Definition of "alimony paid" per IRS rules

Alimony or spousal support is defined as the amount of money paid by one estranged spouse to the other after divorce in order to establish financial equitability. Per the Internal Revenue Services, or the IRS, alimony is based on the principle of equitable income.

Thus, if one of the spouses was the sole breadwinner in a marriage, federal and Texas laws assume that the other spouse sacrificed their career in order to maintain children and the family home, thereby making the marital income a joint income that the latter is entitled to even after a divorce is granted.

Being a financial matter, alimony concerns not only family laws, but tax laws as well. One may find it beneficial to seek legal professional help in order to better understand the tax related issues governing alimony.

If the divorce decree does not categorically state that no spousal support is to be paid by one of the estranged spouses, any cash payment made to the estranged spouse may be considered as alimony. If the estranged spouses do not share a family home and yet one spouse makes payment to the other, all such payments may be deemed as alimony. And any payment made to an estranged spouse is not part of any child custody or child support settlement nor is it part of any asset division.

It must be remembered though that all payments made to an estranged former spouse would not be considered to be alimony by the Federal Revenue Board. Child support, asset division and other payments are specifically excluded from alimony. Alimony paid is tax deductible under Texas and federal laws. Thus, one may deduct the amount of alimony paid annually from their tax returns.

Source: IRS.gov, "Alimony paid," Accessed on Dec. 4, 2014

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