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Paying alimony? Here's a list of what records should be kept

If you've been ordered to pay alimony as part of your divorce decree, it is your responsibility to continue to make the payments on the schedule dictated by the court. Failure to do so can result in your income being garnished by the state to satisfy the payment requirement. However, if you have been making payments but your ex files a complaint stating they never received the funds, only your good record-keeping habits will stand between you and an unjust demand for repayment.

Keep copies of every check

Not only should you maintain an accurate check register showing all your bank transactions, but you should also keep a separate file for your alimony payments. Keep a simple ledger with each date the payment is made, the amount paid, the check number issued and if possible a copy of the canceled/cashed check. The ledger should be updated every month. Consistent use of good record keeping backs up your honest declaration that you made the payment.

Alimony paid is tax deductible

Not only do you need to maintain records to verify you are meeting the requirements of your divorce, any alimony or child support you pay out is tax deductible. When filing your taxes, attach copies of the alimony transactions and keep them with your personal records for at least three years after your taxes have been filed that year. Alimony is one of the areas that tax audits will focus on and lack of records can result in a loss of a significant deduction.

Paying in cash? Get signed receipts every time

If your alimony payment is being made in cash, extra care must be made to track the transactions to protect yourself. Checks leave digital footprints and your bank can often obtain copies even when you lose one. But cash leaves no proof behind, leaving only the good word of you and your ex to verify payment.

If you purchase a simple receipt book at an office supply store, it provides a place for a description of the payment, the amount, the date, and a place for you and your ex to sign. Give a copy to your spouse and made an extra copy to be filed in a separate spot for yourself.

Should you encounter any difficulties in delivering payment to your ex-spouse, don't hesitate to reach out to your family law attorney for more ideas on how to ensure your ex receives their alimony each and every month.

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