When going through a divorce, you're likely not thinking of your taxes. However, alimony and child support will affect your taxes. It's important to understand how they factor into your return.
If you are required to pay alimony, the amount you are responsible for isn't accounted into your taxable income. This means your tax liability is lowered, and you will likely owe less in taxes. You are required to follow certain criteria in order to have your alimony deducted from your taxable income. They are:
All payments must be made by check cash or money order
You cannot reside in the same house as your spouse
Payments made after your ex either passes away or remarries do not qualify for exclusion because you don't need to pay alimony at that point
Monies paid cannot be for child support
If your spouse pays alimony to you, you're required to report the income on your taxes. You'll also have to give your former spouse your social security number, which is needed to claim any alimony payments at tax time.
Unlike alimony payments, child support payments don't directly affect your taxes. Child support is not able to be deducted from taxable income. All of your income will be reported normally, as subtraction of child support payment amounts are not necessary.
Parents who receive child support are not required to include the amount in their taxable income. Child support payments do not qualify as earned income in terms of the Earned Income Credit.
Although you don't get a credit for paying child support, you may be able to claim the child as a dependent because you are paying for the child.