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What Does The IRS Consider To Be Spousal Support?

Daniel F. GIgiano, Attorney at Law, Wadsworth, OhioWhat does the IRS consider to be spousal support?  A divorce decree labels payments as spousal support, maintenance, or alimony.  Does that mean that the payments are considered to be alimony by the IRS?  Not necessarily.  Why does this matter?  It matters because qualifying spousal alimony payments are deductible by the payer and included in the recipient’s income.

In Ohio, alimony is called spousal support.  For purposes of this article, we will use the Ohio term.  In order for a payment to qualify as spousal support by the IRS, all of the following requirements must be met:

  1. The payment must in cash, and not property;
  2. The written instrument does not designate the payment as not spousal support;
  3. If the parties are separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, they are not members of the same household when the payment is made;
  4. There is no liability to make payment after the death of the recipient spouse; and
  5. The payment is not treated as child support.

Cash payments to a third party can be considered spousal support if they otherwise qualify.  These can include: rent, mortgage payments, medical and dental costs, utility bills, education and income taxes.  The payments are treated as though they were received by the spouse and then to the third party.

What types of payments are not spousal support for IRS tax purposes?  They include: noncash property settlements, child support, payments for use of the property, and payments to maintain the payer’s property.  Another way is for the separation agreement to simply characterize the spousal support payments as nondeductible by the payer spouse and nontaxable by the recipient.


To read more, click on the following links to my other articles on divorce and dissolution: when does spousal support end, when does child support end, Ohio spousal support factors, minimum amount of child support in Ohio, minimum income for child support in Ohio, Ohio child support terms, everything you wanted to know about Ohio child support, choosing between divorce and dissolution in Ohio, filing tax returns during a divorce in Ohio, and getting creative with Ohio child support.


Attorney Gigiano is an Akron Divorce Attorney near Barberton and Summit County Divorce Attorney near Norton, with his office located in Wadsworth, Ohio, and has litigated spousal support issues in Summit County Divorces, as well as Wayne County Divorces and Medina County Divorces.  Attorney Gigiano’s aggressive representation has earned him a number of positive reviews on a number of  sites.  If you have questions about this or other questions you  need answered by an experienced Wooster family law attorney near Orrville, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330.