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What records should a person maintain regarding alimony?

In Minnesota, there are a number of reasons a family court judge may order alimony in a divorce case. Alimony, also called spousal support, is often appropriate when one spouse left the workforce for a period of time to raise children, and needs some financial help to regain self-sufficiency. It may also be ordered when the marriage lasted for many years and one spouse earned significantly more than the other.

Spouses who are ordered to pay alimony, and those who are entitled to receive it, should keep accurate records for tax purposes. Alimony payments are generally a deductible expense for the paying spouse, and taxable income for the recipient. Accurate records will also be essential if an alimony dispute arises and the parties end up in front of a judge. A recipient who has to go to court to show payments are not being made, or a payor who needs to show the payments have been made on time, will make a more persuasive case if they have records to back them up.

The recordkeeping guidelines for alimony are not complicated. An alimony recipient should maintain a log showing the date, check number and amount of each payment made or received. The log should also list the bank and account number on which each check was drawn. Keeping a photocopy of every check is also a good way to maintain this information.

Paying alimony in cash is generally not a good idea, but if it is done, the payor should request a signed receipt, and the recipient should keep a copy. If payments are made by money order, payors and recipients should keep records similar to those recommended for checks, along with a photocopy of each money order.

Source:, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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