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How to keep track of your alimony, and why it's important

In the last few weeks, we have talked quite a bit about child support and what happens when a spouse can't pay (and about what you should do if you are the one being "stiffed" by your former spouse). Today, let's talk about a different kind of financial support that can come with a divorce: spousal support.

Often called alimony, spousal support is awarded in certain cases where one spouse has a financial need or made a financial sacrifice for the good of the now-ended marriage. Spousal support can also be awarded by agreement in a divorce case.

If spousal support is involved in your divorce, then record-keeping will become a very important behavior that you need to practice and maintain. For example, if you are the paying spouse, you should get a check book that makes carbon copies of your checks. Additionally, keep track of the date you made the payment and where you deliver or mailed the payment. If you can't pay by check, then make a hand-made receipt that is signed by your former spouse indicating that you have made a payment.

The receiving spouse should keep a lot of this information too. The date, the check number, the amount it was written for, the bank the check draws from, the account number: all of this information is vital.

Both of the former spouses also need to realize the tax obligation they have with spousal support too. The paying spouse can deduct his or her alimony payments from their income, while the receiving spouse has to include that money in his or her income.

Source: FindLaw, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony," Accessed June 28, 2016

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