Tax cut speeding up divorce proceedings

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- "We prefer things to stay the way they were but we have to change with the times," said Attorney Scott Neuman.

And the times are changing.

Thanks to President Trumps Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, divorce cases might look a bit different.

For over 70 years, alimony payments have been tax-deductible.

Once the New Year begins, that rule no longer applies.

The change leaves most lawyers in the dark.

"We’re not sure how it's going to affect negotiations. Normally people don't like paying alimony to begin with," said Neuman. "Starting January 1st, it's going to be much more difficult to get one side to pay alimony to the other."

In divorce proceedings, which can take months, alimony is often used as a bargaining chip for the one paying alimony.

"I would tell my client, 'look, this might be a good deal because you'll be able to deduct the amount of alimony-let's say it's $1,000-from your income, so your tax liability will be less. Starting in 2019, he will not be able to deduct that amount," said Neuman.

In the New Year, divorce agreements will be much harder to come by, as many couples cannot afford to split without alimony.

Neuman tells News 10 that he's been helping some couples rush through some divorce cases lately, and is ready for some long nights in the office.

"If we get a phone call that says 'let's try to settle this before December 31st,’ we can be in the office all night trying to draft something up."