Government Missing Out on Millions from Alimony Tax Errors

Have you lied about alimony on your taxes? If so, you are not alone; scores of Maryland residents and others throughout the nation may be bilking the government out of millions of dollars by failing to report their alimony allowances. Official reports say that the federal government is losing out on a significant amount of money because of this alimony reporting compliance gap. Further, the Internal Revenue Service does not have an effective system for identifying violators.

A recent agency audit showed that nearly half of the 2010 returns that included alimony deductions did not include the correct number. In many cases, an ex-spouse reported paying alimony — which is tax-deductible — even though the person who was supposed to have received the money never reported it. In other cases, alimony payers claimed that they had given thousands of dollars more than they actually had.

As a result, investigators determined that government agencies lost out on $351 million in taxes in 2010 alone because of incorrect alimony numbers. That estimate could be on the low end, as investigators only had the funds and resources to audit a few alimony-related returns. The IRS has sent some reminder forms to those who were found with tax discrepancies, but it is unclear whether the government has recouped any of that outstanding money. The IRS does not always have the authority to contest an alimony deduction claim.

No matter whether you receive or pay spousal support, it is important to remain on the right side of the IRS when filing your alimony-related tax documents. Taxpayers can face serious penalties for failing to pay their taxes. Although the IRS is still refining its policies, it pays to be honest and transparent when filing taxes.

Source: The Washington Times, “Divorcees cheat IRS out of millions through alimony” Stephen Dinan, May. 15, 2014

Olympian, Partner Scrap Alimony Plans, Settle for Specific Items

High-profile Olympian Johnny Weir and his husband, Victor Voronov, have been embroiled in a relatively bitter divorce in recent months. However, a decision about community property and alimony shocked many Maryland residents, as the pair chose to sell off all of their holdings and put the funds in a trust. Some sources say that instead of negotiating about alimony, the couple is seeking access to some valuable sentimental items before going their separate ways.

News reports show that the most recent property division question arose in connection with items held in a storage unit in New Jersey. Among those objects: a $20,000 Faberge egg, along with high-end Louis Vitton luggage and the couple’s wedding rings. Weir had originally asked to sell those items himself, but Voronov and his attorney protested.

A six-hour negotiation led to a compromise between both parties: Weir would get the egg and his own wedding ring, while Voronov would get the luggage and his wedding ring. This property division process certainly seemed daunting. Weir has told his online devotees that he is happy to start anew after that property division negotiation.

The breakup between Weir and Voronov has been fraught with difficulties, as the pair argued about domestic abuse and other serious concerns. Infidelity was also alleged. The couple, married for two years, has chosen the tamer option of selling their community property rather than haggling over specific items in most cases.

Equitable property distribution is an important tenet of modern Maryland divorce; sometimes, though, one spouse needs extra financial help to get back on their feet. In this case, it appears that the couple may have scrapped alimony negotiations in favor of other strategies. However, alimony can have a significant impact on an ex-spouse’s life, allowing them to rebuild their lives after a breakup. Alimony can be used to pay living expenses and maintain a certain standard of living. A Maryland attorney may be able to help couples learn more about their own alimony and property division options.

Source: New York Post, “Forget alimony: Weir gets $20K Fabergé egg” Maggie Coughlan, Apr. 01, 2014

Terrell Owens’ Ex-Wife Seeks Alimony After 72-Hour Marriage

Well-known football player Terrell Owens is back in the news after additional information has surfaced surrounding his secretive wedding to a postal worker. Owens, who has played in Maryland during his National Football League career, wed the woman in January after having kept a tight lid on the nature of their relationship. Just days after the wedding, the woman accused Owens of marrying her solely so he could seek financing for an expensive home. Now, the couple is formally dissolving their marriage. They were married for less than a week.

Even though the woman claims that she was targeted by Owens because of her financial holdings, she is still seeking alimony through the divorce proceedings. The woman is seeking compensation for all of her legal fees, and she also wants an unreleased amount of money for alimony. Further, the woman reportedly intends to contest the football player’s claim that the couple did not acquire any property together. It is not clear what kind of community property she could be referencing.

Alimony payments are generally provided for ex-spouses whose life paths have been altered because of a marriage. For example, a spouse that stays at home with the children might need alimony after a divorce in order to get back into the working lifestyle. Large gaps in a resume can cause significant hardship and barriers to future success. Further, the couple is considered to have worked together to earn the community property, so both partners deserve a share of their financial gains.

In this case, the woman claims that Owens married her for her money, so it is not clear whether her alimony claim will have much traction. Clients who are seeking alimony may benefit from discussing this decision with a Maryland attorney. Some specific legal strategies may prove useful in the fight for spousal support.

Source: Larry Brown Sports, “Terrell Owens’ estranged wife Rachel Snider seeking alimony” Steve DelVecchio, Mar. 07, 2014

‘Monty Python’ Star Still Working Overtime To Pay Alimony

John Cleese may be a funny guy — the “Monty Python” star remains a comedic icon — but his alimony payments are anything but amusing. The 74-year-old star is currently in the midst of paying a massive amount of alimony to one of his ex-wives. Cleese explains that he has, in fact, been forced to work overtime to meet his legal obligation.

The well-known comic had launched a traveling show called “The Alimony Tour” for a reason. Cleese has been ordered to pay his ex-wife upwards of $23 million in short order; the alimony payments must be made within seven years. Not only has the man been required to take on extra work, but he has also sold several properties. Cleese said he used to own five properties. Now, his real estate holdings have been whittled down to just a single asset.

Cleese divorced his wife in 2008 after being married for 16 years. That was the actor’s third marriage. A divorce agreement has stipulated that the man pay a lump $13 million sum in cash and assets. He must also pay the woman nearly $1 million annually through the year 2016.

Although you might think the alimony situation has put Cleese off of marriage entirely, you would be wrong. The comedian married his fourth wife in August 2012.

Issues with spousal support may occur during your Maryland divorce, though likely not on this scale. The fact is that even famous comedians must put extra effort into earning money so they can meet their legal obligations.

Alimony is a key part of many divorce decrees. People who are having difficulty making their monthly payments may be eligible for an alimony modification. Similarly, these modifications may be used after major changes in the beneficiary’s financial situation. Maryland family attorneys may be able to provide more information about legal options that may help clients realize a positive outcome for their own spousal support case.

Source: Huffington Post, “John Cleese’s Alimony Payments Are No Laughing Matter” No author given, Jan. 31, 2014

Postnuptial Agreements Help Couples Sort Out Spousal Support

Although most Americans have heard of prenuptial agreements, the less common postnuptial agreement is gaining traction among recently married couples. In fact, postnuptial agreements can be particularly useful for parents who decide to quit their jobs and stay home with their children in Maryland. In the past, stay-at-home parents had few financial options if they had not agreed to a prenup before the marriage began. Now, though, a variety of different options help protect stay-at-home parents who were previously the victim of poor property division policies and paltry spousal support.

Many moms and dads happily stay home with their children because of a joint agreement with their spouses. In fact, staying home with the children may actually seem financially advantageous because child care is no longer a considerable cost. If the Maryland marriage is dissolved, however, spouses may not be fully compensated for the fact that they left their best earning years in the workplace to stay at home with the kids. So, what can the postnuptial agreement do for stay-at-home moms and dads who are attempting to re-enter the workplace? Here are some reasons to consider a postnuptial agreement within your marriage.

First, it may not seem that discussing a postnuptial agreement would actually be beneficial for your marriage, but it can be true. Simply discussing finances can improve your relationship with your spouse, and drawing up a postnuptial agreement can even help you determine if it makes financial sense for you to stay home in the first place. Postnuptial agreements are critical because most men and women who stay at home sacrifice their prime earning years, which prevents them from reentering the workforce with the gusto they previously enjoyed. Postnuptial agreements help protect those spouses by delineating the specific financial compensation that will be awarded during a divorce. These agreements can be particularly important because stay-at-home parents who re-enter the workforce probably will earn less than they were able to during the initial stages of their careers.

Those Maryland couples who are interested in drafting a postnuptial agreement may benefit from consulting a qualified family attorney, who can help them learn more about their legal options, responsibilities and rights. Many stay-at-home parents can genuinely benefit from the provisions included in a postnuptial agreement after a divorce.

Source:, “Do stay-at-home moms need a ‘postnup’?” Jeff Landers, Dec. 18, 2013

Is Alimony Considered Offensive to Marylanders?

During your Maryland divorce, you may realize that your financial situation requires you to seek spousal support. Also known as alimony, this particular divorce requirement has traditionally been used to support women who were kept out of the working world because of family obligations. Now, though, alimony is taking a decidedly different slant, with both genders seeking compensation through existing court mandates. Some advocates argue that the gender-neutral nature of our current society should prompt changes in the way that alimony is administered, however. If you are seeking spousal support, some of these wide-reaching reforms could affect your financial agreement with your ex-spouse.

Whether you are a man or woman seeking alimony, you are almost certain to run into some resistance from your ex. Alimony is often difficult to calculate, and the term of the financial support can also be contested. For some, alimony is even considered offensive, even though a large number of divorcees can use the money to maintain their standard of living.

Social change seems to be on the horizon, however, as alimony reformers note the many cases of abuse that exist within the system. Sometimes, ex-spouses choose to cohabitate with a new beau instead of getting married; as a result, they may be able to continue collecting alimony even while they have a two-income household. Some would also argue that the payer is forced to downsize his or her lifestyle after a divorce, while the alimony recipient gets to maintain a similar standard of living.

In addition, advocates for alimony reform say that the system protects those without the motivation to become self-sufficient. Even though some exes are capable of working, they get too comfortable in their alimony situation, sometimes playing the “victim” to get more money.

Ultimately, court-ordered alimony is designed to help ex-spouses get back on their feet financially after a major life change. Each alimony case is different. People who think their alimony payments are unfair, or who are suffering because of low alimony payments, can seek the advice of professional family law attorneys to help them learn more about their rights.

Source:, “Is alimony offensive to today’s modern woman or modern man?” Diane L. Danois, Nov. 04, 2013

Best Buy CEO Sells Shares For Alimony

The chief executive officer of one of the nation’s largest electronics chains has been forced to sell off millions of dollars in stock options in order to pay for his pending alimony settlement. The man, who held about 20 percent of the company’s overall stock offerings, sold the shares for $16.7 million in early September in order to make spousal support payments. The sale cost a massive $6.3 million fee, so CEO Hubert Joly only netted about $10 million after liquidating his holdings. Officials at the company say the man still possesses some 476,000 shares after the sale; he sold more than 451,000 in the recent buyout.

Company representatives say the firm is not in financial trouble because of the man’s decision to sell; rather, the choice was a personal matter that involved spousal support alone. Further, the man may have additional stock holdings and options that have not yet been revealed to shareholders, which should give company supporters hope for Best Buy’s financial future.

Best Buy had been experiencing flagging sales in recent years, with the advent of online retailers like Amazon and other industry competitors. Shares in the company had even continued to drop in value when Joly initially took over leadership at Best Buy, but the value of the stock has tripled since the beginning of 2013. Business analysts credit Joly’s leadership style and commitment to remedy failed efforts to take Best Buy private for the rise in stock value. In fact, the company is now back on the top performers’ list for the S&P 500 index.

If you are a business owner or leader who must pay an alimony settlement or a continued amount of spousal support, you may be required to take unorthodox steps to acquire the money you need. This could include actions like selling company stock to satisfy property division mandates. A qualified divorce attorney can help you learn more about your financial options during the property division process.

Source:, “Best Buy CEO dumps large stake to pay for divorce” No author given, Sep. 12, 2013

Plan For a Divorce Even In a Good Relationship

The dialogue is the same throughout thousands of Maryland households. While the married couple is full of newly wedded bliss, one partner tells the other, “You’ll never have to work. I’ll take care of us.” What happens when the fairy tale ends, though, and the couple’s thoughts turn to divorce, alimony, and child support? The fact that one spouse was effectively shut out of the workplace for so many years will have an effect on the couple’s future.

Most couples do not see the divorce coming immediately. Instead, they spend time considering the future, which might consist of remodels to the home, college payments for the kids, and that vacation to the Bahamas next year. When one spouse stays at home, however, that talk of the future can be dangerously enticing. If the couple divorces, the coming years will certainly hold something very different.

In other words, no one plans for a divorce. Although it might sound macabre, it is always prudent to have a financial and social plan if your marriage does dissolve. How would you make your money? Would your spouse be able to shut you out of the financial picture for a time before the divorce was finalized? What if you have been kept from the workplace for so long that your skills are no longer relevant and you require spousal support? It is important to remember that even holding small, temporary jobs might not be enough to catch a future employer’s eye. The fact remains that some spouses do not have to make the choice between a high-powered career and being a stay-at-home parent. In fact, some have always aspired to just that lifestyle. It helps to be prepared, just in case.

Even if you do not have the discussion with your spouse, have it with yourself. You need to be certain that you have a Plan B if your relationship dissolves, or even if your spouse dies.

Source:, “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be housewives” Jennifer Ball, Sep. 08, 2013

Cell Phone Locators Help Alimony Decisions

If you have just gone through a contested divorce and are paying alimony, you may be concerned that your spouse could defraud you out of the support you provide. That is, if your spouse has found another partner, he or she would no longer be eligible to receive your financial assistance. Now, experts in the field say that technology could help track your ex’s relationship to ensure a fair spousal support situation.

Cell phone data is among the most ubiquitous types of information used in spousal support arguments. A series of research and professional articles show that cell phone information can help determine whether your ex is, in fact, cohabitating with someone without the court’s knowledge. This strategy is further bolstered by a recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that cell phone data is considered a business record. In other words, cell phone data cannot be viewed in the same light as other personal information. It is not subject to the same privileges that other private information might receive.

As a result, more alimony payers are able to track their ex-spouses to determine whether they are defrauding the courts by cohabitating under the radar. It is easier to determine whether your ex is actually living with someone, thanks to cell phone tracking data that can place each person 24 hours a day. In addition, if your spouse is actively cheating on you, you could track his or her movements to provide additional information during divorce proceedings.

The new ruling means that no one should have an expectation of privacy when it comes to the location from which your calls are placed. Although the content of your conversations could still be considered private, location tracking can provide ample evidence of cohabitation, leading to changes in alimony agreements.

If you think your ex-spouse is cohabitating, consider seeking assistance from a qualified family attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about your rights and responsibilities, allowing you to pay a fair amount of spousal support.

Source:, “Termination of Alimony: Another Look at the Utility of Cell Tower Location Data” Diane L. Danois, Aug. 05, 2013