Kirk A. Keegan, Jr. - Page 8

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            the minds.  Kronish v. Commissioner, 90 T.C. 684, 693 (1988).  A                          
            letter which does not show that there was a meeting of the minds                          
            is not a written separation agreement under the statute.  Grant                           
            v. Commissioner, supra at 823; Estate of Hill v. Commissioner, 59                         
            T.C. 846, 856-857 (1973).  To be given effect under section                               
            71(b)(2), a written separation agreement "at least requires more                          
            than a written statement by one spouse offering to make support                           
            payments, and the acceptance of those payments by the other                               
            spouse."  Nemeth v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1982-646.  A letter                          
            may satisfy the requirements of section 71(b)(2) even in the                              
            absence of the parties' signatures if it embodies the terms of a                          
            prior oral agreement or understanding.  See Jefferson v.                                  
            Commissioner, 13 T.C. 1092, 1097-1098 (1949); Osterbauer v.                               
            Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1982-266.                                                        
                  Petitioner cites Azenaro v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1989-                          
            224, in support of his position that the March 30, 1992, letter                           
            constitutes a written separation agreement.  However, that case                           
            is distinguishable from the case at hand.  In Azenaro v.                                  
            Commissioner, supra, we held that a letter from the attorney for                          
            the taxpayer's husband, 1 year after the couple separated, which                          
            offered a monthly payment and which was subsequently received and                         
            signed by the recipient taxpayer, constituted a valid written                             
            separation agreement.  The letter, as acknowledged and accepted                           

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