Tips to avoid recapture of alimony

Alimony recapture

12th August: Are you desperate to know what to do to avoid alimony recapture?

Well, here we will discuss in detail the various points to help you avoid your alimony from being recaptured.

Here we go.

Alimony recapture rule—Alimony recapture rule compels the alimony payer spouse to report all the alimony payments deducted by him previously as income. This

Alimony recapture
Alimony recapture

simply means that in such a scenario, the payee spouse is allowed to reduce the alimony payments received (previously) from income.

Some exceptions to the alimony recapture rule—

  • If the payments are terminated following your or your ex’s death;
  • Your ex gets remarried before the end of the third year;
  • Payments made pursuant to any temporary order;
  • Any variance in the total payments annually due to reasons beyond your control and are connected to any property, self/variable employment or business.

Let us see how to avoid such an alimony recapture—

  • Front loading—It is nothing a a big amount paid as alimony in the first initial years of your support. In case of front loading, there is a risk of recapture if you make lesser front loading in the second year. And further, there is still a risk of triggering a recapture of alimony if in the third year, the total payment made is less by $15,000 than the second year’s amount. So, a viable option here is that one can either extend the front loading payments over a period spanning more than three years or simply transfer an asset or assume any debt in lieu of any front loading.
  • Income variable and uncontrolled—If the income varies and is beyond your control, then you must mention in the divorce decree about this and be ready to offer proof to the IRS if any audit reaches you.
  • Increase payment schedule—If you increase payment schedule, you can avoid alimony recapture.
  • Long schedule—Longer payment schedule(more than three years duration) will save you from alimony recapture.
  • Section 71—Under section 71 payments(commonly known as IRC 71—Section 71 payments), one can make payments to his or her ex partner in a series and without any risk of tax consequences, whatsoever. The only loophole in this option is that payments will not be tax deductible.


A point worth notable in this regard is that it is always advisable to seek the guidance and help of a divorce attorney to know about the best options.