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The IRS will treat a payment as child support, rather than tax-deductible alimony, to the extent that it could be reduced or ended when some future event happens relating to your child, such as the child's death, marriage, graduation from high school or college, getting a job, reaching a specified age or income level, etc.
Even if the divorce decree is drafted to avoid mentioning any child-related events, the payment will be presumed to be child support if it will be reduced or ended within six months before or after your child reaches age 18 or 21, or, if you have more than one child, if the payments are to be reduced on two or more occasions, and each occasion takes place not more than one year before or after a different child reaches a certain age. The "certain age" must be between 18 and 24, and must be the same for each child.
The rules discussed above apply to alimony in most states. However, in community property states, there are some differences in the way alimony is treated if paid before the divorce is final (e.g., under a temporary order). If you live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, you'll want to check with your lawyer or tax advisor about the tax treatment of temporary alimony you pay or receive.