You may feel that your marriage is coming to an end, but financial issues or other matters may be keeping you from filing for an Illinois divorce just yet. According to the American Bar Association, the timing of your filing for divorce may make a big difference in how spousal maintenance will affect your taxes.
Currently, a person who pays alimony gets to claim those payments as a deduction on taxes, and the person who receives it has to claim that amount as income. The tax code has included this rule since 1942, and it will continue for everyone who files for divorce before Jan. 1, 2019. At that point, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes a big change: The payee no longer gets a deduction, and the receiver’s taxes no longer have to include the spousal maintenance payments as income.
If you suspect that you are likely to be ordered to pay maintenance in your divorce, you may want to consider filing soon to lock in that deduction. On the other hand, if you believe the court will award you spousal support, you may want to put off that final decision for a few more months, if you can.
Spousal maintenance is figured based on many elements, including how long you are married, the earning capacity of you and your spouse, the standard of living you are used to, and the income of each of you. So, although this general information may give you some factors to consider before filing divorce, it should not replace the advice of an attorney.