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Wheaton alimony attorneysAt the start of 2019, the federal government eliminated the 70-year-old tax deduction associated with alimony payments. For receiving spouses, it may seem beneficial to no longer have to claim alimony payments as income, but the change actually leaves less money for the entire family. That is because paying spouses, who remain at the same tax bracket, may need to decrease their support amount to balance out their financial obligations. Thankfully, there are some alternative strategies that families can use to preserve their wealth after a divorce. 

Trading Alimony Payments for a Transference of Retirement Funds 

Depending on the ages of the divorcing parties, a transference of retirement funds may be preferable to alimony payments. In this option, the paying spouse makes a tax-free exchange of money by directing some of their retirement funds to the lower-earning spouse. The receiving spouse may also withdraw from the amount without tax penalty, so long as they are age 59.5 or older. If the receiving party has not yet surpassed the age threshold, divorcing parties may want to consider another alternative, as the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty may outweigh any potential benefits for the family unit. 

Using a Trust Account in Lieu of Alimony Payments 

Another potentially viable alternative to alimony payments is the use of a trust account. The most commonly used versions are the CRT (charitable remainder trust), QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Trust), ILIT (Life Insurance Trust), and Alimony Trusts. 

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DuPage County spousal maintenance lawyer tax lawsNew tax laws that went into effect for this year have brought about quite a few changes. One major change, which could be bad news for those who are currently in the process of divorce, is that alimony (known as spousal maintenance under Illinois law) is no longer tax-deductible for those who pay it, and it will not be considered taxable income for those who receive it. This may be a major loss for people who are required to pay a large amount of alimony.

The 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is in effect now, and it applies to any divorce cases finalized after December 31, 2018. Therefore, going forward, any divorce that includes spousal maintenance will follow the new rules. Pre-2019 divorcees, however, may still qualify for the old rules.

Payors: Does Your Pre-2019 Agreement Meet Requirements for Tax-Deductible Alimony?

Many factors go into determining whether you can still deduct your spousal support payments from your taxes, including, but not limited to the following: 

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Illinois divorce lawyersTaxes, though not often discussed, are a critical element in almost every divorce, and they are especially important when alimony may be owed. Thanks to the new Tax Code and Jobs Act, everything about alimony and taxes will change, come the start of 2019. Find out how and discover what it could mean for your Illinois divorce in the following sections. 

The New Tax Law and Divorce - An Overview

While the new tax law may not affect all divorces, it is likely to have a significant impact on cases involving alimony. Parties who pay support and complete their divorce after December 31, 2018, will no longer receive a tax deduction at the end of the year, and receiving spouses will no longer be required to pay taxes on the alimony they receive. At first glance, this might seem like a benefit for the family, but appearances can be deceiving. 

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Illinois divorce lawyersAlthough alimony is far less common than it once was, it is still a factor in divorces today. Under what circumstances is alimony awarded, and how can you tell if you may be entitled to it in your Illinois divorce case? The following information explains, and it provides you with some details on why and how the assistance of an experienced family law attorney can help.

Alimony in an Illinois Divorce

Despite the common misconception, alimony is not awarded in divorce, simply because one asks for it. Instead, there are certain factors that the courts use to determine if a party may be eligible, including:

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DuPage County alimony lawyersAlimony, though less common now than it once was, is still awarded in some divorce cases. More specifically, it may be awarded to a disadvantaged spouse – an individual that earns less money than their spouse, or one that has given up their career, education, or employment to take care of the home or children. Stay-at-home fathers are included in this definition. Learn more about your right to pursue spousal support in an Illinois divorce, including how an experienced divorce lawyer can help improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

Gender No Longer a Determining Factor

Not long ago, alimony was awarded mostly to stay-at-home moms and women that did not work outside the home. With family structures changing, and more women serving as the primary or sole breadwinner these days, the gender bias for alimony no longer exists. In fact, statistics indicate that some 40 percent of wives now earn more than their husbands, and the pursuit of alimony among men is becoming more and more common.

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Illinois alimony attorneysSpousal support, though less frequently awarded in divorce than it used to be, is still an option for disadvantaged spouses. However, many things have changed over the last few years. For example, more women are the primary breadwinners in their families, so more men are pursuing spousal support. Another major difference is that the formula for calculating alimony changed back in 2015. Discover how to tell if you may be eligible for spousal support, and how it is calculated in an Illinois divorce today.

Are You Eligible for Spousal Support?

Despite the common misconception, alimony is not always awarded, just because it is requested. Instead, spouses who wish to receive alimony must fit a few criteria before they are considered eligible by the courts. For example, the courts may award alimony when:

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