For many women who face a divorce, the prospects of having to live on half of what used to support you both is frightening — especially for women who have stayed at home to raise the children and now face the prospect of having to look for outside employment.
Alimony is not a given in any divorce. In Nebraska, the court will look at a number of factors in making a decision about the need for alimony and the amount to be awarded. Under Nebraska Revised Statute 42-365, these factors include:
- the financial circumstances of the parties
- the duration of the marriage
- a history of the contributions to the marriage by each party, including contributions to the care and education of the children
- the interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities
- the ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without interfering with the interests of any minor children in the custody of such party
When making a decision about alimony, the courts do NOT weigh fault — meaning that even if your spouse was unfaithful, addicted to alcohol or drugs, or exhibited other bad behavior, this will not impact the determination of alimony.
In 2018, the federal government threw a new wrinkle into alimony negotiations by shifting the tax burden from the payee to the payor with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This takes effect for any divorce agreements entered into after December 31, 2018. Before the new law, the ex-spouse paying alimony was able to take a tax deduction on the amount of alimony paid annually and the ex-spouse receiving alimony had to declare it as income. Under the new law, the payor can no longer claim alimony as a deduction, and the payee does not have to declare alimony payments as income.
Payors may be able to argue effectively under the new law that they are not able to afford high alimony payments without the tax break, leaving payees with less than they may have received under the old law.
If you are planning a divorce soon, we encourage you to speak with an experienced Nebraska divorce lawyer about what these changes in the tax law could mean to you, either as a payor or a payee. Your legal team at Koenig|Dunne is here to answer your questions about divorce in Nebraska and to advocate for your rights.