Alimony

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DEFINITION of 'Alimony'

Payments made to a spouse or former spouse under a separation or divorce agreement. In the United States, each state sets its own laws on how alimony is awarded and paid. Whether alimony will be awarded and how much it will be is determined by factors such as the length of the marriage, the spouses' relative incomes and the spouses' financial prospects.

BREAKING DOWN 'Alimony'

For the receiver, payments are considered taxable income; for the payer, they are a deductible expense. Alimony should not be confused with child support. Alimony payments are specifically meant to support a spouse or former spouse, while child support payments are specifically intended to support one or more children from a dissolved relationship or marriage. Neither alimony nor child support payments may be discharged in bankruptcy.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What are Social Security spousal benefits?

    Social Security spousal benefits are partial retirement or disability benefits granted to the spouses of qualifying taxpayers.  Qualifying ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How are Social Security benefits calculated for divorced spouse?

    The maximum Social Security retirement benefit payable to a divorced spouse is 50% of the amount that would be paid to the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does divorce affect Social Security benefits?

    If you are eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits on your own account, your marital status has no impact ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can a divorced woman collect Social Security from her ex-husband?

    While a number of conditions must be met, a divorced woman is able to collect Social Security benefits through her ex-husband. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are Social Security benefits affected by marriage?

    The amount of Social Security benefit you are eligible to collect upon retirement is not affected by marriage. Your benefit ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do alimony and child support factor into my taxable income?

    The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, applies a different tax treatment to alimony than child support. Most forms of alimony ... Read Full Answer >>

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