After a separation, changes in a couple’s finances often result in a change in their tax situation.
Since 1999, a parent paying child support can no longer deduct child support paid in that year from his or her income. Nor does the recipient of child support have to include child support payments in her or his income.
Spousal support, however, which is usually paid monthly, most often changes the tax status of the payor and the support recipient. The amount is deductible from the payor’s income in calculating tax for the calendar year the support is paid, and includable in the recipient’s income for the same year, provided the following conditions are met: the couple has separated, the support is paid periodically, there is a written agreement or court order setting out the spousal support and the recipient has the discretion to use the amount received as she or he likes.