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Awarded alimony? Then prepare to keep track of the payments

Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be a critical element to any divorce. However, it is not guaranteed to be involved in any given divorce. Each state handles alimony differently, but in most cases, a complex formula or a judge's ruling (based on many different factors such as the length of the marriage, the health of the spouses and the professional prospects of the spouses) will determine if alimony should be used or not.

In North Carolina, alimony can be awarded if certain requirements are met, but if a determination of "absolute divorce" is filed before claiming alimony, then it is not possible for you to receive alimony. This is just one of many legal quirks that surround the prospect of alimony, so it is imperative for you to consult with an attorney prior to filing for divorce.

Another factor to consider is something that an attorney can't necessarily help you with: and that is your recordkeeping skills if alimony is awarded in your case. Whether you are the paying spouse or the receiving spouse in an alimony arrangement, you need to diligently keep records of all of these payments. Not only could this come in handy when Tax Day arrives (tax deductions for the paying spouse, increased taxable income for the receiving spouse) but it also gives you official documentation of your alimony record if post-divorce litigation arises.

Either spouse should keep track of:

  • The date and amount of the payment
  • The check number used for the payment
  • If cash is used, then make your own receipt and have each party sign it
  • The bank used for the payment
  • The bank account number
  • The address the payment was delivered to or accepted from
  • A carbon copy of the check for the paying spouse and an official copy of the check for the receiving spouse

Source: FindLaw, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony," Accessed April 6, 2017

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