Category Archives: Divorce and Taxes

How Have Divorce Cases Changed Without the Alimony Tax Deduction?

Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerOn January 1, 2019, a provision of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect that will impact divorce cases going forward. This law eliminated the tax deduction for spousal support in divorces finalized on or after that date. The effects of this change to the law are still being felt, and many long-term results have yet to be seen. In many cases, it has required people on both sides of a divorce involving spousal maintenance to be more savvy and resourceful when it comes to reaching a settlement.

How Has the New Law Affected Taxes on Spousal Maintenance?

For many years, maintenance (which is also referred to as spousal support or alimony) was taxed as follows:

  • The spouse paying maintenance would be able to deduct the amount of support payments from his or her taxable income.
  • The spouse receiving maintenance would pay income taxes on the support payments.

Under the new law, there is no tax deduction for the payor of spousal support and no tax on these payments for the recipient. However, this change only applies to divorces that were completed after December 31, 2018. For divorces finalized on or before that date, spousal maintenance will continue to be taxed as it had been previously. In other words, the new law taxes spousal support payments in divorces completed in 2019 or later the same as child support payments.

Strategies Being Employed Under the New Tax Law

While some may see this change in the law as a substantial hindrance to those who pay spousal maintenance and a benefit to those who receive spousal support, the truth is that it may result in lower alimony payments and financial issues for both parties. Without the ability to deduct maintenance payments, a payor may be in a higher tax bracket, leaving them with less overall income to put toward support. Because of this, both parties in many divorce cases may be less willing to negotiate and agree on spousal maintenance payments.

To address these concerns, some divorcing spouses are getting much more creative and resourceful about how they reach spousal support agreements. In many cases, spouses are figuring out ways to reach fair divorce settlements without having the payments made by one party to the other be considered spousal maintenance that is subject to tax guidelines. Some strategies that people may use to lessen the effects of the new law include:

  • Funding alimony through pre-tax retirement accounts
  • Setting up a trust
  • Allocating more marital property through investments

Contact a DuPage County Alimony Lawyer

Changes to the tax laws can have a significant effect on your divorce, and you should be sure to understand the best ways to address these issues and reach a settlement that will meet your ongoing needs. At the Andrew Cores Family Law Group, our Wheaton divorce attorneys can help you determine how to protect your financial interests and ensure that you will be prepared for success as you move on from the end of your marriage. Reach out to us at 630-871-1002 for a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

https://www.isba.org/ibj/2018/12/breakingupishardertodo

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-tax-law-eliminates-alimony-deductions-but-not-for-everybody-2018-01-23

https://www.forbes.com/sites/heatherlocus/2019/07/12/minimizing-taxes-in-divorce-without-the-alimony-deduction/#77d7cfa78344

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/18/this-checklist-can-help-you-manage-your-divorce-after-new-alimony-tax-rules-go-into-effect.html

How Is Student Loan Debt Handled During Divorce?

DuPage County debt division attorneyIn 2017, the average student loan debt for graduates was over $37,000, which would amount to more than $45,000 when paid over 10 years with an average interest rate. This is a considerable amount of money. Graduate degrees are even more costly; the average student with a graduate degree has over $84,000 in debt, while the average medical school student has an astounding sum of $246,000 of debt. Many spouses may wonder what happens to this debt during divorce. This is a good question, because these debts can have a profound impact on a person’s life after finalizing the divorce process.

When the Loans Were Taken Out Before Marriage

If a student loan was procured before a couple was married, it will not be classified as marital property. Only marital property is divided during divorce. Non-marital property, such as bank accounts, real estate property, and debt, which was acquired before marriage remains the property and responsibility of that individual spouse. This means that if your wife took out $100,000 in law school loans before you were married, that debt will not become your responsibility after divorce.

Student Debt Acquired During Marriage

Everything changes when student loans are acquired during a marriage. However, simply because the debt is considered marital property does not mean that both spouses will be responsible for the debt. Many factors are taken into account when determining how to divide student debt, such as the following questions:

  • Which spouse profited from the education?

  • Did the non-debtor contribute to paying for the education or provide assistance in other ways, such as taking care of children while the debtor went to school?

  • How were the loans used? For example, did they cover housing as well as class fees?

  • What is the earning capacity of each spouse?

The spouse who went to school may end up being responsible for paying for all of their student loan debt after divorce based on how the above questions are answered. Depending on the circumstances and the decisions made during the divorce process, the other spouse may end up being responsible for paying off the debt as well.

A Wheaton Debt Division Attorney Can Help With Your Divorce

Distributing student loan debt during divorce can be exceedingly complicated. To ensure that your best interests are put at the forefront, you need an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney on your side. Call the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.debt.org/students/

https://www.credible.com/blog/statistics/average-grad-school-debt-statistics/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/20/how-much-the-average-student-loan-borrower-owes-when-they-graduate.html

 

Tax Season and Divorce: New 2019 Illinois Laws

Wheaton, IL Divorce LawyerDivorce laws can seem daunting for individuals who face the end of their marriage. As of January 1, 2019, Illinois regulations became slightly more complicated as new laws swept across the state and country. One significant alteration to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act drastically impacts tax claims on spousal maintenance payments.

Spousal Maintenance and Taxes

Until now, alimony has been tax deductible to the payer and taxable income for the recipient. However, for divorces filed after the beginning of the year, spousal maintenance no longer qualifies as a tax deduction to the paying spouse. Simultaneously, the recipient can no longer claim the payment as a part of gross income. Because of the tax implications, this caused a rush on divorces toward the end of 2018, as experts say couples now have less to split between them because of the law change.

The Grandfather Clause

Did your divorce finalize on or before December 31, 2018? If so, you still qualify for the previous tax regulations. If you did not sign your agreement until after that date, or you modified your contract, the new rules become applicable. Anyone considering adjustments to their divorce agreement from now on should be extremely cautious, and as always, seek the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements

Many couples choose to protect themselves and their interests by filing a marital agreement outlining what they would like to happen should the marriage end in divorce. If you have an existing prenup or postnup agreement, consider having it reviewed by a skilled divorce attorney. These new regulations potentially nullify some items in these agreements.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions regarding the impact of new laws with your existing divorce agreement, or if you are considering divorce, an experienced Wheaton, IL divorce attorney can help. Andrew Cores Family Law Group understands the stress that comes with the divorce process and will work diligently to guide and fight for you throughout. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation at 630-871-1002.

Source:

https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/tax-bill-2017/card/1513379555