Is alimony (spousal support or maintenance) tax deductible?

Let’s say the couple agree that he will pay her support. The spouse who pays support gets a deduction for the amount; the spouse who receives it has to declare that same amount as income.

If they do not have a written agreement or a court order, any payments of support made during a separation are not to be deductible, and the payments are treated as income to the recipient.

In negotiating a marital settlement, divorcing spouses must clearly distinguish between payments that are part of a property settlement and those that are alimony. A distinction between the two is critical if for no other reason than tax consequences. Alimony payments, which are tax deductible to the payor and taxable to the payee, are different from property settlements, which are generally without tax consequences to either spouse.