Alimony in a Divorce

If you expect to receive alimony in a divorce, you will want to make sure that any agreement specifies the terms on which it is modifiable. Alimony is normally modifiable in amount provided you state that in your agreement, but not modifiable in duration. In Pennsylvania, however, if your spouse dies or you remarry or you live with another person unrelated of the opposite sex, alimony terminates at that time, unless you specify otherwise in an agreement. Since alimony does terminate in death, it is important to consider life insurance in your divorce plan or agreement. Many agreements will provide that until your alimony terminates that it is secured by a life insurance policy equal to or more than the remaining amount of money that you anticipate that you will receive over the course of the alimony term. In some instances, you may want to consider a buyout of alimony if you are paying alimony. This means that instead of making monthly payments on alimony, you lump sum the payment upfront and usually ask for a reduced amount since the money is being paid immediately. In this case, however, you may lose the deduction on your tax return depending on how the agreement is drafted since normally alimony is deductable by the payor and taxable to the payee. In addition, you will not be entitled to any of the payment back should your spouse remarry or cohabitate, but you will not be subject to an increase if your income goes up. There are many options to consider when paying or receiving alimony that should be considered in any divorce settlement. You should consult both an attorney and a certified public accountant.