Effects of New Tax Law on Spousal Support

Spousal Support

Calculating spousal support in WA state has never been easy. We do not have a formula, it is discretionary and based on one parties established “need” and the others “ability to pay”. The duration and amount depends on statutory factors such as; length of marriage, the real employment possibilities of the receiver, manner/style of living, …. But now we have new wrinkle, a new federal tax law that no longer allows a deduction for the payor, and no longer are there tax implications for the receiver. The change I have seen in my practice is that the “1-3” guideline is no longer used (One year of support for every three years of marriage). Decision makers such as Judges, arbitrators, and mediators, are moving towards a “1-4” guideline because paying support is now more expensive and the receiver no longer has to claim it as income for tax purposes.

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