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Tax change to significantly impact many 2019 divorces

It happens at the end of every year: couples struggling to keep their marriages intact will give their relationships one last chance over the holidays. For some couples, that renewed effort brings them closer together and revives their marriages. For others, the holidays serve as a last gasp for their marriages, making it clear that it is finally time to go in another direction.

For them, the new year is a time to begin that new journey and sit down with a family law attorney to discuss divorce and matters such as child custody, property division and spousal support (also known as alimony). It will be important to those who expect to pay or receive spousal support to discuss with their divorce lawyer the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on their financial lives.

The tax cut package passed in late 2017 included a modification of alimony payments that might dramatically alter financial arrangements in divorces across the country. Under previous tax law, spousal support payments were tax deductible. Under the new law, spousal support in divorces finalized this year (and beyond) will no longer be a deductible expense for the payers.

A divorce lawyer who spoke to Fox Business News said, “There is no incentive to pay alimony now. It’s really all just money out of the pocket for the payer … (it’s) harder to encourage that when you have no benefit to exchange.”

In the past, some people split payments to a former spouse between alimony and child support, with the payments weighted in favor of alimony and the accompanying tax break. With that break removed, it is very possible that many will balk at requests for spousal support.

If your divorce includes the possibilities of spousal support, child support and child custody disputes, contact a Lake Charles family law attorney to discuss your best options.

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