Are Divorce Attorneys’ Fees Tax Deductible?

Are Divorce Attorneys' Fees Tax Deductible?
Are Divorce Attorneys’ Fees Tax Deductible?

Happy Tax Day!

If you’re in the midst of a divorce, you probably want to know if you can deduct the fees paid to your attorney.

First things first, Hire a Tax Lawyer

If you have a brain tumor, you need to hire a BRAIN surgeon.  NOT a pediatrician.  Nor a dermatologist.  And NOT a podiatrist.

Same goes with lawyers.  We are family law attorneys, not tax attorneys.  If you want to know what family law attorneys do or don’t do, read this article: What Divorce Lawyers Can and Can’t Do.

So are attorneys’ fees paid in your divorce tax deductible?

Probably not.

Previously, It May Have Been from Internal Revenue Code section 212.

That section allows a U.S. federal income tax deduction for expenses that relate to investment activities. The IRS allows a deduction for “all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year” for the following:

(1) Production or collection of income, or

(2) Management, conservation, or maintenance of property held for the production of income or

(3) In connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax.

Legal fees incurred to obtain spousal support or to enforce it may be deductible pursuant to the first section that refers to the “production” or “collection” of income.

Prior to Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, spousal support was taxable as income and tax-deductible to the payor.  The Act eliminated the ability to deduct miscellaneous itemized expenses pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 212.  (at least through 2025, at which time, the law may or may not change).

Current Law Does Not Allow

Therefore, a taxpayer cannot presently deduct attorneys’ fees incurred or paid in connection with spousal support.

Again, Discuss with Your Tax Lawyer or CPA!

Divorce Attorneys’ Fees Tax Deductible

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