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What records should I keep if I pay alimony?

If you are living with alimony payments, you owe it to yourself to maintain detailed, accurate records about all the alimony you pay. Depending on the nature of your alimony agreement, you can probably deduct those payments come tax time, when this documentation becomes exceptionally useful. Documentation can also help clarify the situation if you and the recipient of the alimony have a disagreement about your payments.

The most basic type of records you should keep in this area are the details of each payment that you make, when you made it, where it was sent, the check number and a copy of the cashed check if you can get it. The more you document about your alimony, the more protection or validation you will have if an issue arises.

If you make an alimony payment in cash, you absolutely must get a written receipt from the person receiving the payment. This receipt should include the amount paid, the date it was paid, and the month that the payment goes toward. The recipient of the cash payment must sign each receipt.

For tax purposes, you should always keep documentation going back at least three years. If you are going to have an alimony dispute, it is unlikely that it will extend back further than three years, but it is certainly possible — especially if your recipient were to claim that the original alimony calculations were incorrect, for instance.

If you are facing a legal dispute involving alimony, be sure to get the help you need to truly handle the issue. These matters can get messy without proper professional guidance to safeguard your rights and privileges.

Source: Findlaw, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony," accessed Aug. 04, 2017

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