Articles Tagged with alimony

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

Dear Carolyn,

I have received spousal alimony since a 2003 court order until death. I would like to get an increase because of the economy. My ex-spouse receives three times my social security and retirement. His home is paid for and he owes three motor vehicles. His social security and retirement from a big local company is great. I received zero from this after 38 years of marriage. He was in Management. What are my chances of getting an increase?

Carolyn Answers:

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

Dear Carolyn,

I work and make a good income.  During our marriage, my wife worked for a while, but stopped when we had children.  She has and maintains a CPA license.  We have a 15-year-old with some discipline problems and ADHD.  We are divorcing, and I think she should go back to work.  She wants alimony.  Who is right?  Does she need to work, or can she just continue to be a leech?

– Anti-Leech

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

Dear Carolyn,

My ex is receiving alimony, which I obviously do not want to pay.  She has a son, by another marriage, who is a heroin addict.  My ex-wife began dating shortly after our divorce, and she seems quite entrenched with this guy.  He stays over at my ex’s on some weekends, but he does still have his own apartment.  I know he has a key to my ex’s house, and I know he stayed there four weeks when the heroin addict was in rehabilitation.   My court order for alimony says that the alimony terminates upon cohabitation or remarriage.  Will the court terminate my alimony?  Is my ex cohabiting?

                – Sorry to be paying alimony

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Dear Carolyn,

My ex is all over Facebook about what she did with the kids during Spring Break. She apparently took some young woman with her to babysit so she could spend more time with her boyfriend on the Florida beach. She posted my little boy “buck naked” on the beach on Facebook. She posted her “babysitter—young woman” drinking beer with at least a dozen empty beer cans in the background. She posted a picture of her boyfriend and her entwined on the beach on a blanket. And to top it all off, she posted a picture of her new engagement ring from him, and we are not even divorced. I have filed for custody of the two children. She wants alimony. Are the pictures I downloaded from Facebook admissible? Can I make her remove the nude picture of my son as I am worried about perverts? Do these Facebook pictures help me in my quest for custody and no spousal support? I am frustrated with the whole process.

Dear Frustrated,

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Dear Carolyn,

My wife had an affair, and because I wanted to save the marriage for the children, I forgave her. That was about ten years ago.  Now, it is really not working, and I want out.  The last child has finished high school.  She spends too much money and she will not find a job.  She says I owe her alimony if I leave.  She has the same college degree I do.  Can she get alimony?  What about her affair?

I tried, but….just can’t do it any more….

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

Forget it!

Forget about the alimony deduction for all new decrees or instruments post-2019. (See Part I for modification of pre-2019 alimony orders and agreement, as modification has a separate set of rules.) The deduction is gone absent a congressional miracle. That means on December 31, 2018, or before you must have alimony that qualifies under IRC Section 71 before it is repealed. The alimony must meet the terms of Section 71, pre-TCJA and pre-2019, which are as follows:

a. You must have a qualifying decree or instrument;

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

Previously, we examined the paragraph and subparagraphs defining “divorce or separation instruments.” Now let’s take a look at which sections of TCJA incorporate these subparagraphs.

Sections incorporating all three subparagraphs of the definition of divorce or separation instrument Post-2018.

The two sections of TCJA that adopt all three subparagraphs of the definition of divorce or separation instrument post-2018 are as follows:

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

The repeal of the alimony tax sections for the inclusion of income and deduction has an ancillary impact on other divorce tax issues. The effective date for all ancillary issues discussed in this article is December 31, 2018, the same as the alimony repeal. These December 31, 2018, changes shall be referred to herein as “post-2018” changes.

The law before TCJA will be referred to as “pre-2019.”

In this first section, we’ll look at what a divorce or separation instrument is.

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Carolyn Woodruff, J.D., C.P.A, C.V.A.

Divorce was hard enough, and now alimony tax reform. Do you feel good or bad about alimony? No matter your answer, this alimony tax reform revolutionizes the divorce arena, and you need to know how it may affect you and your clients. Judges need to know how it might affect those whose appear before them as litigants. So let’s dig in.

This article is Part I of three parts. Part I deals with the basics of the alimony taxation changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), referred to herein as the “new Alimony Statute.” Multiple sections of the Internal Revenue Code related to alimony are changed under the TCJA. The new Alimony Statute is contained in Section 110151 named “Repeal of Deduction for Alimony Payments” in PL 115-97, HR1, December 22, 2017, 131 Stat 2054.  When I refer from now on to the “old Alimony Statute,” I am referring mainly to Internal Revenue Codes Sections 71 and 215 as they existed before the TCJA.

Part II will deal with ancillary federal tax considerations of the new Alimony Statute, of which there are many.  Part III will discuss considerations of the new Alimony Statute under North Carolina domestic relations law and explore creative possibilities for the use of the new Alimony Statute.

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Dear Carolyn,

I am thinking about separating from my wife of 10 years. She is a doctor and makes a lot more money than me. I am a school teacher and make extra money coaching, but she still makes a lot more than me.  Neither of us are having an affair, but I am pretty miserable. We are both thirty-three.  She works all the time and I take care of our two children.  I also worked for two years while she finished her medical degree.  I hate to ask, could I get alimony as a man?  Our lifestyle has been great, and I would like to maintain that lifestyle as best I can. Thanks Carolyn.

 

Carolyn Answers:

Very interesting question, but the answer is quite simple. Men can get alimony on equal footing with women, at least theoretically. This issue was resolved by the United States Supreme Court in 1979 in the noteworthy case of William Orr v. Lillian Orr.  In Orr, the Supreme Court held that an Alabama statute that made alimony only available to women was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which provides for equal protection. An interesting twist to the Orr situation was that Mr. Orr did not want alimony from Ms. Orr; rather Mr. Orr was upset that women never had to pay alimony under the Alabama statute. Mr. Orr’s argument that the statute discriminated against men won.

Some men do get alimony in North Carolina, but there are vastly more reported cases of women receiving alimony. Times are changing. I personally believe toward more men receiving alimony. The thirties age group has a fairly typical scenario in divorce of both spouses working, or at least no one has been out of the workforce for 20 years.  Neither of you are out of the work force.  Contrast this with divorces of persons in their late forties or fifties where one spouse did drop out of the public labor force to raise children—those dependent spouses who haven’t worked publicly for 20 years generally receive alimony if the supporting spouse has the ability to pay. Continue reading →