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Get alimony? Then get organized

Depending on the circumstances and the determination of a court, alimony (or spousal support) may be awarded to you as a result of a divorce. This support provides critical financial help to those who need it after a divorce upends their normal life. When it is awarded, alimony must be diligently tracked by both of the parties involved, because spousal support can have serious implications going forward.

For example, come tax time, the alimony payments will affect each spouse differently. The paying spouse will be able to deduct his or her payments on their tax return. Meanwhile, the receiving spouse must include the payments they get in their taxable income.

Another way that spousal support will change your life is that your organizational skills must be perfected. You should track and record information about every payment that you make or receive. This is done not just for your personal records, but in case litigation is triggered later on that involves your divorce or specifically the spousal support payments.

Both spouses should keep files that record the date and amount of a payment; the address used for the payment; the day the check was cashed (or if cash was used, make a receipt and have both parties sign it); the account number and bank used for the transaction; the check number, and even a copy of the check if possible. All of this information will go a long way in enabling you to establish a timeline of the payments and help substantiate any claims you make in court, if litigation is ongoing.

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