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Alimony penalty may have impact on future divorce proceedings

Thanks to lawmakers, those in Massachusetts who are contemplating ending their marriages have a bit more time to decide without facing a financial penalty related to paying alimony. The current tax bill's final version would eliminate the break that divorcees currently enjoy for making alimony payments. However, it will apply only to divorce agreements that are executed in 2019 and beyond. The earlier version of the legislation proposed that this divorce-related penalty take effect in 2018.

With the new legislation, taxpayers who make alimony payments can no longer deduct their payments for tax purposes. Critics of this legislation asserted that removing the deduction will make it more financially difficult to support an ex. In addition, it may result in more legal fights and keep the lower-earning party from getting the income he or she so desperately needs.

The legislation will affect hundreds of thousands of people, as around 800,000 couples in the United States ended their marriages in 2015. This is a rate of around 100 split-ups each hour. Still, the rate of divorce has plummeted for younger adults during the past 25 years, whereas the split-up rate has increased for married couples who are older.

Going through divorce can be a challenging ordeal due to the many areas of conflict that may arise. These include, for example, alimony as well as asset division and even child custody. However, a family law attorney in Massachusetts can provide the appropriate guidance to ensure that one's goals are met and best wishes upheld during each stage of the divorce proceeding.

Source: bloomberg.com, "Why You Don't Have to Rush to Get a Divorce Before 2018," Alexis Leondis, Dec. 18, 2017

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