If you're making voluntary support payments to your spouse, you need
to make sure you're receiving credit for those payments and reaping
the tax benefits.
Spousal support payments are tax-deductible for the payor, and includable
as income for the payee-spouse. However, in order to claim deductibility,
those support payments need to be recorded in writing by court order or
In addition, an order compelling you to pay spousal support must clearly
state that those payments terminate upon your death, or the death of the
recipient. If you're making voluntary payments without a properly
worded court order, you could be sacrificing the tax deductibility of
For the spouse receiving support, a court order can be equally valuable.
Should your spouse stop making voluntary payments, you need to have the
ability to enforce your rights and collect the money owed to you. Without
a valid court order, this becomes a nearly impossible task.