Nationwide changes are taking effect this month regarding how alimony will be awarded in divorce cases. The new year is bringing legal changes that will impact couples divorcing after January 1, 2019 in the Naples, FL area and beyond. With the changes, alimony will no longer be tax deductible or taxable to the recipient spouse. In fact, alimony will cease being taxable at all. This transition (induced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) is rocking the world for many divorce clients who are involved in setting alimony agreements. MarketWatch points out that this new ruling is a big shift from alimony cases of the past, when “payments that met the tax-law definition of alimony could always be deducted by the payer for federal income tax purposes,” and “the recipient had to report the money as taxable income.”
The New Normal for Alimony Cases
But what do these legal changes mean for you? As of this month, judges will be encouraged to award Rehabilitative Alimony only. Rehabilitative alimony can be defined as an alimony payment that is reduced to a definite number of years, most often mirroring the course of the marriage. For example, a spouse who was married for three years would now most likely be awarded alimony for only another three years. According to DivorceSupport.com, the purpose of rehabilitate alimony is to allow the recipient spouse to secure a stable lifestyle and gain the ability to support themselves financially, whether through career advancement or further education. Ideally, alimony minimizes the negative effects of divorce by providing the recipient spouse the opportunity to become completely self-supporting.
Some people dislike the term “rehabilitative,” thinking it implies some kind of incapability on the part of the receiving spouse. However, most law firms utilize the term simply because of its accepted usage in common legal vocabulary. And while we certainly don’t believe that it should refer to a lack of ability on the side of the receiving spouse, we are aware that in many marriages, one partner puts certain career advancements or educational pursuits on hold in order provide childcare. Alimony is a way to make things fairer after a divorce.
As the new normal in 2019 and beyond, rehabilitative alimony will be a strong contrast to other types of rulings common in the past, such as permanent alimony. LiveAbout explains that permanent alimony “continues until the death of the payor, the death of the recipient or the remarriage of the recipient. In some cases, it can continue after the remarriage of the recipient.”
What Doesn’t Change with the New Laws?
Much is shifting in the way that alimony is awarded, but some essential aspects will remain the same. For example, alimony awards still must meet the two-prong test of 1) the payor’s ability to pay and 2) the recipient’s proven need for alimony.
If you’re considering a divorce, or currently involved in an alimony debate in the Naples, FL area, The Law Offices of Michael M. Raheb, P.A., is here for you! Whether you will be the one receiving alimony or the one paying it, we can help you navigate changing laws and shifting expectations regarding divorce cases. Call our office today at 239-226-0888 to set up a consultation, or feel free to contact us online at any time.
The Law Offices of
Michael M. Raheb, P.A.
2423 First Street,
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Fax Number: 866-949-0888