Traditionally, the payer of spousal support qualified to deduct such payments for income taxes, and the recipient of spousal support was required to declare such payments as taxable income.
Effective 2019, new spousal support orders will be treated differently; spousal support payments will no longer qualify as tax deductions, and spousal support recipients will no longer have to declare such payments as income. Therefore, depending on whether you plan to pay or collect spousal support, that will determine whether you want to complete your spousal support orders in 2018 or delay until 2019.
This was part of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) signed into law in 2017. It does not affect spousal support orders established prior to 2019, unless they are modified in 2019 or thereafter. Also, it applies only to Federal Income Tax, not to California State Income Tax, at least not yet.
Disclaimer: We are not tax attorneys, and the above should not be construed as tax advice. Please consult your own tax professional regarding all tax issues, including how the latest tax laws may or may not affect your tax liability and tax strategy, given your own particular circumstances.