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Technically speaking, alimony is the order of payment for the support or maintenance of a spouse or former spouse, periodically or in a lump sum, for a specified or for an indefinite term, ordered in an action for divorce, whether absolute or from bed and board, or in an action for alimony or divorce. Basically, alimony is the money one ex-spouse is legally required to give to the other in a divorce or separation agreement.
Alimony law varies from state to state, and often the amount of alimony rests completely upon the judge's discretion. Unlike child support guidelines that are mandated by each state, alimony guidelines are few and far between with the judge's discretion holding the most clout. The method of alimony payment varies also by the state in which the divorce settlement is reached. Most states allow a lump-sum payment, equal to the total alimony amount expected over a period of years. Monthly dispersion is another method of alimony payments, but few people prefer to wait for a check in the mail. Most people receiving alimony choose the lump sum for the simple reason that it brings closure to the proceedings and relations can be severed, if necessary, with the ex-spouse.
Divorce is an issue that affects both spouses emotionally and economically. Besides the emotional distress involved with divorce, tax implications from alimony can hinder your settlement. While the spouse paying the alimony can deduct it from their taxes, the spouse receiving alimony will have to pay taxes on it. This is where a good divorce attorney comes in handy, and may be able to save you more dollars than you realize. On the other end, a bad attorney one might cost you thousands.
Tax issues regarding alimony for divorce center around the actual divorce agreement. Alimony and child support are the two main financial issues that most people deal with in divorce cases. The person receiving the child support payments cannot be taxed, and taxes are equally not deductible by the person making the payments. However, alimony payments are completely different. If a payment qualifies as alimony, that payment is taxable to the person receiving the payment, and deductible by the person making the payment.
Not all payments under a separation or divorce agreement are considered alimony, and alimony does not include child support, noncash property settlements, payments that are part of the spouse's part of community income, use of property, and payments to keep up the payer's property. Alimony does not include payments that are not required by a separation or divorce agreement.
Only cash payments, including checks and money orders, qualify as alimony. Transfers of services or property,including a debt instrument of a third party or an annuity contract, execution of a debt instrument, or the use of property do not qualify as alimony.
Alimony can be a tricky subject and you only have one chance at making work for you. An experienced divorce attorney can help you so that you're not taken advantage of during the divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney will look out for your best interests now, so when tax time comes you won't have to worry.
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Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.