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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Family law changes may be expected in 2018

Spousal support payments may be undergoing a revision in the coming year. A federal tax bill can change the way individuals pay their support payments and how recipients claim the funds. The proposed changes will be felt in the courts of Texas family law as individuals negotiate settlements using the new terms. 

Previously, alimony payments were tax deductible for the person paying, and they were claimed as income by the person receiving. New proposed legislation ends this policy and makes the support payment non-deductible, effectively making alimony more expensive for the individual paying. When such a payment is made more expensive, it can be more of a hardship for the payer, who will likely not be able to offer the same amount. Persons who receive the payments may have to fight harder for the amounts they need, making court settlements more challenging.

The bill has been revised to start the policy with divorces settled after December 31, 2018. Until then, the former rules will apply. Any settlements that would be renegotiated after the cut-off date may be able to include language that exempts them from the tax rules, although the true effects of the new policies are not yet known. 

For individuals in Texas facing family law concerns, the new information may affect their decisions. State and federal laws about divorce are often changing and will affect massive numbers of individuals. Those interested in receiving help and advice on current laws can hire an experienced attorney to guide them through the process. 

Source: Bloomberg, "Why You Don't Have to Rush to Get a Divorce Before 2018", Alexis Leondis, Dec. 18, 2017

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