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Recordkeeping when you pay alimony

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2022 | Alimony

Some divorced couples in New Jersey will include alimony payments as part of their divorce settlement. While alimony is not a requirement of divorce, it is granted in certain situations in which the spouses’ earnings were significantly different. As with all legal and financial processes, it is important to keep clear records in case questions come up in the future.

When are alimony payments awarded?

Alimony payments are often awarded in situations where one spouse earned significantly less than the other or where one spouse was not employed so that they could take care of the home and the children. Spousal support is particularly important in long-term marriages in which the spouses enjoyed a certain standard of living that would be prohibitive for the lesser-earning spouse after the dissolution of the marriage. Some alimony is temporary, providing financial support while the lesser-earning spouse seeks education and training to rejoin the workforce. However, when the receiving spouse cannot support themselves for a variety of reasons, alimony might be permanent.

Why should the alimony payer keep records?

In most cases, alimony is a tax-deductible expense for the spouse who pays it and taxable income for the spouse who receives it. This means the IRS might be involved in keeping track of these payments. If a conflict about the amount or frequency of the payment arises, carefully kept records might be the only way to solve it. The records that the alimony payer should keep include:

  • A list of dates when alimony payments were made with the check number and amount
  • Information about where each alimony check was sent and what month it corresponded to
  • Copies of the cashed check if possible
  • Signed receipts by the receiving spouse for any cash alimony payments

If you are paying alimony, you should keep your records for at least three years, if not permanently. They can be the only proof you have that the correct payments were made if the situation becomes contentious.