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What alimony records should you keep?

In the course of a divorce, a judge can decide whether the soon-to-be-former spouse will be required to pay spousal support and, if so, how much he or she will have to pay. With the changing dynamic of the working family, alimony payments aren't as prevalent as they were in the past, but they are still used frequently if one spouse gave up a career to raise children or in marriages in which one person earned a substantial amount more.

Of course, if you're reading this, chances are you probably know these things all too well. What you might not know is that, whether you are the payer or the payee, you should be keeping specific records for a variety of reasons. A spouse could challenge you on whether you paid in a timely manner and whether you paid the correct amounts each month. The IRS could also look into alimony payments ? unlike child support payments, alimony is tax deductible.

The alimony payer should keep fastidious records of:

  • Every check number, along with the address to which the check was sent.
  • Carbon copies of every check.
  • If you paid with cash, a signed receipt from the recipient.

Alternatively, the payee should be keeping all of the following:

  • The date and amount of each check received.
  • The name of the bank and the corresponding checking account number.
  • A photocopy of any money order or check received as an alimony payment.
  • If you were paid in cash, keep a copy of any receipt you signed.

As always, if spousal support payments aren't realistic because of a life change, an attorney may be able to help obtain a modification of a maintenance order.

Source: findlaw.com, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony," retrieved May 10, 2015

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