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Illinois residents will want to note, alimony affects income tax

Some current statistics suggest that nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Ending an Illinois marriage obviously results in many changes in the lifestyles of those involved. Various aspects of a divorce can have a significant effect on personal financial documents, such as income tax returns. Alimony is an example of a common divorce component that can change the way a former spouse files his or her tax return.

Alimony is a court-ordered payment from one former spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation. If a payment is considered alimony, then the payer is able to use the amount as a deduction on his or her tax return form. However, the former spouse who receives the alimony payment is often required to list it as taxable income.

It is important to differentiate between child support payments and alimony. The payer of child support may not deduct it on his or her tax return, nor is it to be claimed as income by the parent receiving it for the benefit of his or her child. Also, with regard to divorce and the filing of tax returns, parents who share child custody in a 50/50 arrangement may not both claim the child as a dependent on their returns. For this reason, some couples choose to switch off from year to year so that each gets the opportunity to claim the deduction. 

In Illinois and elsewhere, matters pertaining to divorce can often be complex and confusing for those attempting to navigate the legal system. Anyone with questions regarding alimony, child custody or other important issues can seek legal counsel from a professional who has experience in family law cases. He or she would be able to offer an assessment of an individual case and offer advice and guidance as to what options are available and how to obtain an amicable and agreeable settlement for all those involved.

Source: news-herald.com, "Paul Pahoresky: Divorce has impact on your income taxes, too", Paul Pahoresky, Sept. 2, 2015

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