Spousal Support Alimony Oklahoma Law

Alimony and the Oklahoma Divorce

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Alimony and Spousal Support are interchangeable terms in Oklahoma law used to describe payments made from one spouse or ex-spouse to another during the pendency of a divorce, after a divorce, or during a legal separation. The purpose is for the recipient to be able to maintain his it her means of living. Alimony awards in Oklahoma are said to be rehabilitative. That is, the alimony award is payable to the former spouse in an amount intended to maintain relative financial equality between the divorced parties subsequent to the final Oklahoma divorce decree being entered.

Duration of Spousal Support (Alimony) in Oklahoma

The period of alimony is dependent on several factors with the largest determinant being the length of the marriage. Although there is no hard and fast rule for how long a marriage must last before alimony can be ordered or what the duration of a spousal support order will be, some Oklahoma divorce judges look for a marriage that is older than three years and award one year of alimony for each three years that the couple was married. Oklahoma statute does provide for spousal support to terminate upon the death of either the obligee or the obligor and upon remarriage of the recipient will terminate the alimony payment. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 134(B) (1992).

Oklahoma Alimony and Federal Taxes
Under certain strict rules, the IRS allows the alimony obligor a federal income tax deduction for the payment of alimony. While the obligor is allowed to deduct the alimony payment, the recipient of the alimony payment (obligee) is taxed on the payment as income. This method of taxing alimony is advantageous to the parties, because the parties are presumably shifting income from the spouse with a higher tax bracket to the spouse with a lower tax bracket.

When is the Oklahoma alimony payment recognized as a deduction?

  • The payments must be made to the former spouse and must be in cash or check. Notes payable or property trades for equivalent value are not deductible.
  • The payments must be made by the obligor to the former spouse pursuant to an Court ordered settlement or decree. Payments made pursuant to a temporary order or Oklahoma separation order also qualify under Section 71 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • The final Oklahoma divorce decree should set out that the Oklahoma alimony payment is deductible to the obligor and taxable to the former spouse receiving the alimony payment.
  • The parties must live apart.
  • The award must not be overly front-loaded. The IRS has rules against front-loading. Alimony should not be excessively high or front-loaded in the first three years after the divorce or separation. Disproportionate payments are are said to be front loaded and subject to recapture or being taxed to the obligee in the third post-separation year.
  • There must be a clear partition between alimony and child-support payments. If you terminate alimony upon the aging out of a child, or some other condition related to the minor child, you run the risk of the IRS reclassifying past alimony as nondeductible child support. Once again, past deductions are subject to recapture thereby disallowing deductions risking an assessment of back taxes owed by the spouse making the alimony payment.

KANIA LAW OFFICE: Tulsa Divorce Lawyers
Oklahoma divorce is a major life-changing event. If you would like attorneys at Kania Law Office to answer any questions or discuss how a divorce in Oklahoma will apply to the facts and circumstances of your divorce, please email or contact the professional attorneys at Kania Law Office at 918-743-2233 for an appointment.