Is Alimony Taxable Income?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

November 21, 2019

When you’re getting a divorce, there several financial considerations. Although divorce is a deeply emotional process, it’s also a complicated financial transaction that involves property division, child support, and alimony. Alimony is often misunderstood, and mistakes could be costly.

Because divorce is so complicated, you need a divorce attorney you can count on. The North Carolina lawyers at the Breeden Law Office are ready to represent you through all aspects of your divorce, including alimony proceedings. We stand up for your rights and work to get the best possible settlement or judgment. With offices in Raleigh, Angier, Garner, and Smithfield, call (919) 661-4970 to schedule an appointment.

What Is Alimony?

Spousal support or alimony are payments made by one spouse to the other after a marriage ends. However, in some cases, temporary alimony can be ordered while a divorce is ongoing.

The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to the spouse with less financial security or needs help getting on their feet. Alimony allows a spouse who is financially at a disadvantage, maintain the same standard of living that the couple enjoyed during the marriage.

Alimony begins when the court first orders it and ends:

  • At the end date given in the order,
  • If the parties resume marital relations,
  • If either spouse dies, or
  • If a spouse receiving alimony remarries or lives with a partner

Determining Alimony in North Carolina

Alimony is not automatic in North Carolina. The spouse who wants alimony must ask for it, and it is up to the court to decide if alimony is appropriate.

North Carolina General Statues § 50-16.3A lists 16 factors the divorce court should weigh when determining if alimony should be granted and if so, the amount that should be granted and how long the payments should last.

The factors that influence alimony include:

  • The age of the spouses and their health
  • How long the couple was married
  • The parties’ incomes, earnings, and earning abilities
  • The impact on the parties economic status by one spouse staying home as a homemaker while the other obtained education or training or built a business or practice
  • The parties’ education levels and the need by the party seeking alimony to obtain more education to become self-sufficient
  • Assets and debts of the marriage and the individual spouses
  • The separate property of each spouse
  • The standard of living the spouses shared during the marriage

Alimony is most commonly ordered when the spouses have been married for a long time, when the non-moneyed spouse is disabled, or when a spouse gave up their own career or education to stay home with the children or to be a homemaker. Alimony can be ordered as regular monthly payments (such as monthly) or as a large lump sum one-time payment.

Financial & Tax Implications of Alimony

Alimony used to be tax-deductible for the person paying it and taxable income for the person receiving it, but changes to the tax code have reversed this. Alimony is currently not tax-deductible, and it is not taxable income for the person receiving it. Alimony debt is also not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Failure to pay alimony in North Carolina can result in revocation of a driver’s license, liens against a home, withholding from a paycheck, garnishment of tax refunds, fines, removal of a passport, and even jail time.

Discuss Alimony with Your Lawyer

Paying or receiving alimony can have a huge impact on your financial situation after divorce. The experienced divorce attorneys at the Breeden Law Office can help you maximize your financial position after divorce and protect your rights. Call us today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule an appointment.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden