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Record-keeping key to protecting your spousal support rights

During your Texas divorce, you probably had to spend a significant amount of time poring over financial documents before coming to a final property division decision. If you thought your documentation days were over, think again; those who are receiving or paying spousal support need to keep reliable records well after the breakup becomes official. Keeping proper documentation can make your life much easier when tax time comes around, and it also affords other legal protections if your spouse challenges the amount that has been paid or received.

If you are paying alimony, you should keep documentation regarding each payment, including check number, the address of the check and perhaps even a copy of the check that was cashed. Keeping track of this information is increasingly easy in the digital age, as your online banking system may already have these features. Keep hard-copy carbon copies of each spousal support check. Further, those paying alimony in cash should secure a receipt signed by the other party after every payment.

Those receiving spousal support also have documentation obligations. They should keep track of the date, amount and check number for every payment. Information about the payment account is also helpful, along with copies of money orders and cash receipts.

Experts say that all of these documents should be retained for at least three years from the date that you file your tax return. In reality, it might make sense to keep electronic and hard copies until your alimony term is up; that way, you can dispute any unfounded claims made by your former spouse. Alimony can seem complicated, but you can protect your legal and financial rights by keeping the right type of records.

Source: FindLaw, "Alimony Guidelines: What Records to Keep Regarding Your Alimony" Aug. 18, 2014

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