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Why is recordkeeping so important for alimony?

If it is determined that your divorce will include alimony (or spousal support), then you will either be on the paying or receiving end. Great! (Or not, depending on your situation.) But now what? When such financial payments are involved in your divorce, what are the procedures and processes in place, and what should you be doing to track these alimony payments?

There will be rules enforced on the paying individual to ensure that he or she is giving his or her ex-spouse the money that they are supposed to. However, that doesn't exempt you from being a responsible and organized person. You should still keep extensive records of your alimony payments -- regardless of whether you are paying or receiving -- to protect yourself and to ensure that the alimony process is being followed.

With that in mind, what sort of records should you keep?

  • If you are the paying spouse, you should make a spreadsheet that lists the date of the payment, where the payment was sent to, the information pertinent to the payment (such as check number, cash amount, confirmation number, etc), and you should utilize a carbon copy checkbook (or create manual receipts) to prove that a payment occurred.
  • If you are the receiving spouse, you should keep much of the same information. But, in addition, you should also list information about the bank that the payment draws from (account number, bank number, account type, etc).

For both spouses: keep and maintain these records for many years. They could impact your taxes or there could be legal action that requires you to show these records.

Source: FindLaw, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony," Accessed Nov. 30, 2015

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