Spousal Support and Alimony are interchangeable terms in Oklahoma law. They are terms describing payments from one spouse or ex-spouse to another. Spousal support alimony payments occur during the process of divorce, after a divorce, or during a legal separation. The purpose is for the recipient to maintain their standard of living after divorce. Thus, spousal support alimony awards in Oklahoma intend to be rehabilitative. That is, the alimony or support award is temporary and intends to give the other party time to get on their feet financially.
Duration of Spousal Support Alimony:
The period of spousal support alimony is dependent on several factors. The largest determining factor being the length of the marriage. Although there is no hard and fast rule for how long a marriage must last before alimony is available, a good general rule is two or so years. There is also no specific rule for the duration of the alimony award. My experience is that most Oklahoma divorce judges order one year for each three years married. Like most family and divorce law the courts base their decisions based on the individual facts of your case. Oklahoma law does provide for spousal support to terminate upon the death of the person paying it. Also it terminates if the person who receives it remarries. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 134(B) (1992).
Oklahoma Alimony and Federal Taxes:
Under certain strict rules, the IRS allows the alimony payer a federal income tax deduction for the payment of alimony. While the obligor may deduct the alimony payment, the recipient of the alimony payment pays taxes 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.
Alimony Payments as a Tax Deduction:
- The payments must be 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 from 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.
Support Alimony Attorneys in Tulsa:
If you’re in a family law case and alimony is an issue we can help you. Spousal support alimony is determined based on the facts of your particular case. Further, Oklahoma divorce courts require arguments to occur as to why spousal support is or is not necessary. You need an alimony attorney who has the passion to make sure that the courts see the case from your point of view. Our alimony attorneys care about you and your case so call us today.
Tulsa's Local Family & Divorce Lawyers
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