Think that you might be on the hook for alimony or spousal support after your divorce? The new tax bill that was signed into law at the end of 2017 states that the spouse paying alimony won’t get a tax deduction for the payments. This change applies to all support agreements made after December 31st, 2018. If your alimony agreement was official before December 31st, 2018, then the spouse receiving the alimony will pay taxes on the money and the alimony-paying spouse will get to deduct the sum!
Ladies, we have been making some serious progress when it comes to income over the last few decades, but with great paychecks come great responsibilities! If you are a high earning woman considering divorce, don’t be surprised if your soon-to-be ex asks for alimony (also known as “spousal support”).
Many of today’s women are Leaning In like champs, climbing the corporate ladder, and bringing home big paychecks. A Pew Research study conducted in 2013 found that women are the leading or solo breadwinners in 40 percent of households. Additionally, another Pew Research study found that up to 2 million men in 2012 were stay-at-home dads, raising their children while their wives worked.
While alimony has historically been a benefit provided to women after a divorce, that concept is changing! Lynne Gold-Bikin, a family law attorney at WolfBlock LLP was quoted in Divorce 360 as saying, “When I started practicing 30 years ago, I didn’t see it at all. Zero. And now I see it in about 10 percent of my cases – female clients having to pay their ex-husbands support.”
There’s even a nickname for it – “manimony.”
Will you have to pay up when you divorce your husband?
Alimony and spousal support laws are different in every state, but judges typically award alimony based on the prevailing laws in their state, and gender shouldn’t make a difference in the award. Alimony is awarded on a number of factors including the length of a couple’s marriage and the income disparity between the ex-spouses. In other words, the longer you were married and the more your income exceeds your spouse’s, the more likely it may be that you will be writing checks to him each month.
The idea of paying manimony may be frustrating to women, but the entire purpose of alimony is to help the lower income spouse get back on his or her feet. If your husband was a stay-at-home dad, he may need to go back to school to brush up on job skills, or it could take many months before he finds employment.
Take heart in the knowledge that most alimony awards only last a certain amount of time and cease if your spouse remarries. Also, if you lose your job or take a big pay cut, you can petition the court to lower or eliminate your alimony payments.
The Price of Being Stronger and In Charge
Yes, paying alimony to your ex-husband can be frustrating, but there is a silver lining here. The fact that you may be required to pay alimony at all suggests that you are in a strong financial position. Unlike many women who must adapt to a much more financially restricted lifestyle after a divorce, you may actually find that you are better off on your own. Or at least you won’t see your quality of living drop drastically. In a best case scenario, your alimony payments will give your ex the support he needs while he sets out on his separate path toward full employment and self-sufficiency.
Do you have more questions about divorce, like whether or not you should keep the house? Take a look at our divorce archive of articles for answers! We also encourage you to sign up for the next Second Saturday Divorce Workshop near you to get answers to all of your divorce questions.