What is Unallocated Support and why might I want it?

In Illinois divorce cases, there are two possible kinds of support- maintenance (spousal support) and child support. If a party is going to be paying both, he or she may want to call it "unallocated support" where the 2 types of support are esentially lumped together. This might make sense when the person paying is in a higher tax bracket than the person on the receiving end. Unallocated maintenance is a tax write off to the person paying but shifts the tax burden to the person on the receiving end. Maintenance in Illinois is taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the person paying, but child support has no tax consequences at all. By treating the whole thing like maintenance for tax purposes, the  whole thing is a write off and the amount of taxes paid for may be less if the one paying it (the one who receives it) is in a lower tax bracket. The person receiving it usually doesn't care to shoulder the tax burden that could have been someone else's, regardless of the tax savings- and can usually negotiate a higher amount of support to offset the tax. The end result is more money in the combined pockets of the parties and less money to the government (in a way that is completely legal). It doesn't always make sense depending on the amounts and number of children. Be sure to consider the possibility with your divorce attorney. 

Carol O'Connor Cadiz
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Attorney & Owner at O'Connor Cadiz Law: Bankruptcy, Injury, Real Estate & Mediation