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Will changes in alimony laws cause lengthier divorces?

Many people in Massachusetts may know someone who has gone through or is currently going through a divorce. Some of these divorces may have gone smoothly, but others might have been difficult and ended bitterly. Alimony is one of the many things that can cause difficulties during divorce proceedings. There are some who speculate that the upcoming changes to the Internal Revenue Code regarding the treatment of alimony may result in longer and more expensive divorce proceedings.

These changes will take effect in 2019. Those who are making alimony payments will no longer be able to deduct the payments on their taxes. Further, those who are receiving the payments will no longer have to count this money as taxable income. Because of these two major differences, some people believe that divorces may take longer due to disagreements between spouses. 

Although many may wish to expedite the process, some people may still benefit in some ways even if their divorces are finalized after Jan. 2019. Since the payments would no longer be tax-deductible, there is a possibility that the payments will not be as high as they are now. It is possible that this change to the IRC will result in lower alimony payments since the tax deduction will no longer be available. 

Massachusetts couples who are considering a divorce may wish to discuss these changes as well as consult with attorneys in their area. Attorneys may be able to help spouses to communicate effectively throughout the divorce process. They may also be able to help those who believe that they should receive spousal support or believe that they will be required to pay alimony to understand how these payments will affect them and how they may or may not benefit by waiting until after Jan. 1, 2019. 

Source: NBC News, "New tax laws will likely make getting a divorce even worse", Martha C. White, Feb. 23, 2018

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