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Alimony FAQ's



What is alimony?


Alimony is payment to or for a spouse or former  spouse under a divorce or separation agreement.



Divorce of Separation Instrument is one of  the following:


  • A decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written instrument incident to that decree;
  • A written separation agreement; or
  • A decree or any type of court order requiring a spouse to make payments for the support or maintenance of the other spouse. This includes a temporary decree, an interlocutory decree, and a decree of alimony.


To qualify as alimony, the payments must be "periodic payments" which are either payments made in a fixed amount for an indefinite period, or payments made in an indefinite amount for a fixed period.  There are occasions when alimony may be paid in a one time lump sum payment.



Alimony  Income


Since alimony is deductible from gross income by the payer it is included in gross income by the collecting spouse or former  spouse.  Alimony received is included in federal gross income and therefore must  be included in Massachusetts gross income.



Alimony - Schedule Y Deduction


A deduction is allowed for total amount paid to a former spouse during the taxable year for alimony or separate maintenance under a court decree.

Child Support Payments do not qualify as an alimony deduction; amounts are not deductible by the payer and are not included in gross income by the recipient.



Alimony Recapture


Both New Hampshire and Massachusetts follow the alimony recapture provisions as of the 1/1/98 Internal Revenue Code. The federal rules force a "recapture" of front-loaded alimony payments in year three of a  divorce alimony agreement.  These rules are designed to prevent property  settlement payments from qualifying for alimony treatment.

Deductible payments made in the first or second year may be recaptured (reported as income by the payer) in the third year where payments within the  first three years decline by more than $15,000.


You should always consult with a tax professional about your particular situation to see how the payments would be treated by the Internal Revenue Service.

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Law Office of Joseph M Annutto, PLLC

369 Main St

Nashua, NH 03060


Phone: +1 (603) 881-9161

Fax: +1 (603) 821-5185




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Woburn, MA   01801


Phone: 978-458-4566

Fax: +1 (603) 821-5185




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Beverly, MA   01965


Phone: 978-458-4566

Fax: +1 (603) 821-5185




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