Alimony and the IRS


With tax time fast approaching, it's crucial that couples who have been through a Pasadena divorce understand their obligation to the IRS regarding alimony payments.

Alimony, sometimes called spousal support, is money paid from a higher earning spouse to a lower earning spouse for day-to-day support. For the purpose of preparing your taxes, alimony includes payments made directly to the lower earning spouse as well as payments made to a third party, such as those made to pay for the alimony recipient's medical costs or mortgage payment. Alimony does not include retirement benefit payments from accounts that are considered community property or any payments made as the result of a property settlement. Voluntary payments not legally required by a divorce decree are also not considered alimony, even if they are used for the recipient's living expenses.

If you have minor children with your ex, you should be aware that child support is not considered alimony. However, if your divorce decree provides "family support" and does not designate any amount as child support, the entire payment is considered the same as alimony for tax purposes.

Alimony should be reported as income by the recipient and a deduction by the person paying the alimony. Usually, alimony income is reported on line 11 of the federal Form 1040, and alimony deductions should be listed on line 31 of the federal Form 1040.

In the state of California, a Registered Domestic Partner (RDP) who receives or pays alimony must follow the same rules that apply to payments between former spouses. Federal laws are more complex, however, so you should consult a tax professional for further assistance with this issue.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about alimony, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our skilled Pasadena matrimonial attorneys can handle a variety of issues relating to both the payment and receipt of spousal support.