November 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 332

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Tax Deduction for Legal Fees Regarding Alimony/Spousal Support

Generally, you cannot deduct legal fees for divorce, custody and other related matters.  There is an exception, however.  For the legal advice you received from your lawyer in relating to alimony, which is also known as spousal support, the Internal Revenue Code (IRS) does permit a deduction. Spousal support is generally taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the spouse paying support.  Many divorce cases involve hours of discussion and legal advice regarding and surrounding spousal support.  To the extent you receive tax advice about alimony, that portion of the bill is deductible as a miscellaneous expense if you itemize.

To make it clear to the IRS how the spousal support is treated from a tax perspective, make sure you have the taxability to the recipient clarified in your settlement agreement.  If you intend to take the deduction, you must have your attorney clearly itemize the tax-related portion of your bill from the personal part. As miscellaneous expenses, qualifying costs are deductible only to the extent all your miscellaneous expenses exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.  If you had a contentious divorce case that included a lot of legal advice about spousal support, you could have a large deduction. 

© 2021 Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 131
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About this Author

Odin, Feldman & Pittleman’s Family and Domestic Law attorneys and professionals provide creative solutions to successfully resolve family law issues whether it be through negotiation, mediation, trial, or appeal.

Our attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants are experienced in local, national, and international family law matters. Our attorneys appear regularly in Northern Virginia courts including those in the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Fauquier; in the cities of Alexandria and Winchester; as well as in...

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