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Alimony Records — What You Need to Know If You Receive It or Pay It


If you’re currently involved in an online divorce, alimony is an important component to the process. Typically, a judge determines who will be responsible for paying and receiving alimony during divorce proceedings. This determination is made based on a few factors, including which person earns more income as well as if either party had previously quit a job to stay home to care for their children.

The modern trend with divorces is to steer away from alimony payments, especially in situations where both spouses worked outside the home and contributed financially to the family. Interestingly, according to 2010 US Census records, of the 400,000 people receiving alimony payments, only 3 percent of them were men. This is starting to change slightly, with more women working outside the home and, in some cases, earning more than their former spouses. This low percentage is expected to rise in coming years.

Regardless of who’s paying, it’s important for both parties to keep careful records of alimony payments. In messy divorces, one spouse may claim alimony payments were never made or received. In these instances, carefully kept spreadsheets or lists will provide proof that payments were or were not completed.

Alimony Records for the Person Paying

Alimony payments for the person providing them are tax deductible. For this reason, it’s extremely important for the spouse paying alimony to keep careful records of these payments that should include the following information:

  • A list of all payments that were made during the year, including dates and amounts
  • Check numbers for each payment made
  • The address where the check was sent for each payment
  • Photocopies of each canceled check (or the original, if your bank supplies it)
  • Receipts for any cash alimony payments you make

Not only are these records useful in a situation where the other party claims payments were never made, they’re also necessary for tax purposes in case the IRS decides to poke around and audit you. If they do, you’ll have proof of payments that were contributed.

Alimony Records for the Person Receiving

Careful records should also be kept for the person receiving alimony payments. At the end of the year, they must be claimed as income and again, in the case of an IRS audit, you’ll have the proof you need that precisely documents the money you received. The person receiving alimony should keep records that include this information:

  • Payment amount and the date received
  • Check number or money order number for the payment
  • Account number and bank name that the money was drawn on
  • A photocopy of the check you received or a copy of a receipt that you signed for a cash payment.

If you find yourself facing uncertainty regarding alimony payments and online divorce, check out our other articles and resources about alimony specifics to stay informed of current trends and guidelines.

Go to this page about online divorce to learn more.