I get asked this question a great deal, especially in high asset divorce cases, as well as indefinite and rehabilitative alimony cases. In Howard County, these issues arise often, as the fees for divorce can become extremely high in complex cases, as well as complex and high conflict child custody cases.
The first rule of thumb is to check with a highly skilled CPA, tax attorney and/or tax preparer. That person will be able to explain the facts of your situation to you in greater detail.
The incredibly simplified answer is that often, although certainly not always, legal fees spent regarding the issue of alimony might be deductible.
Legal fees spent pursuing various retirement orders, such as qualified domestic relations’ orders, as well as the division of military retirements, might be deductible.
And no, you should never take “just” the advice of your divorce attorney on the issue of the deductibility of legal fees. You can only rely on the advice of a tax professional.
Legal fees spent within family law can range to a few thousand dollars to tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars. I am occasionally involved in divorce and family law cases of such complexity and with such high assets that the fees can become quite high.
It can be a welcome relief to be able to deduct even a portion of those fees, when applicable.