Tax Reform Brings Changes For Spousal Support In Virginia

Tax Reform Brings Changes For Spousal Support In Virginia
Categorized: Family Law

Replacement Tax Law

Congress passed sweeping tax reform legislation and it was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. Amongst the multitude of changes in the bill, there are some in particular that will impact divorce. These changes are substantial, and it is important to be informed on them as they will most certainly influence how divorces are negotiated and ruled on.  

Spousal Support Taxation

Perhaps the most significant change is how spousal support payments are taxed. Under the previous law, the spouse paying spousal support could deduct the amount paid. Conversely, the recipient of the support had to pay taxes on the monies received as spousal support or alimony. Under the subsequent law, this has been reversed. Beginning in 2019, the spousal support payments were no longer deductible for the paying spouse, and the recipients do not have to pay taxes on their monthly payments. For example, under the previous law, someone paying $30,000 in spousal support ($2,500 per month) could deduct $9,900, and the spouse receiving support had to include the $30,000 in their gross income for tax purposes.  Because the spouse receiving the money is taxed at a lower rate, the parties could save over $5,000. Under the new law, the recipient receiving $2500 a month will now get that money tax free, while the paying spouse is taxed on it at their higher rate.  


Contact us Today

Why The Change?

The reason for the change is to make up for a lack of taxable income that results from the previous arrangement. As you might imagine, those paying the support are more likely to report it on their taxes in order to receive the deduction, whereas those receiving the support were less likely to report the addition to their gross income. The Joint Committee on Taxation projects that the change will yield $6.9 billion in tax revenue. Some commentators are concerned that this will result in lower spousal support awards all around. If the party paying support no longer gets a deduction, they have less available income to pay their ex-spouse, a factor that courts are likely to take into consideration when calculating support awards. 

Another change that will impact divorce settlements involves child tax exemptions. Prior to the new law, taxpayers were able to claim an exemption worth $4,050 for each child. The current legislation no longer allows this exemption. Instead, the child tax credit was increased from $1,000 to $2,000. These changes happened alongside others (such as increased standard deductions for single filers and Head of Household filers) which will all have to be considered when navigating your own terms. An experienced attorney will be able to help with these decisions.   

These changes did not affect anyone who divorced or signed a separation agreement before 2019.

If you have any questions about how this change will impact your divorce, please contact our experienced Virginia attorneys!

Call us toll-free at 888-691-9319 or fill out this short form to get started. 

Visit these links for related information

Parks Zeigler Divorce & Family Law
Important Points To Remember About Gray Divorce & Virginia Divorce Laws
Retirement May Bring Change To Spousal Support

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Map & Directions
524 Albemarle Drive,
Suite 200

Chesapeake, Virginia 23322
Map & Directions
200 N. Water Street,
Suite 2A

Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Map & Directions