Alimony 101

Alimony 101

Contentious topics abound in divorce. The demise of a marriage is typically not something that happens overnight, and over time, the wearing away of the marital bonds may eat away at the parties’ emotional cores.

Alimony, also called spousal support in some states, is a hot topic in divorce. While some couples can quickly come to terms with it, others may continue to duke it out throughout the entire process. Find out the basic facts about alimony, why it is awarded and under what circumstances it may be waived.

Alimony Requirements 

Many states have a set of rules that govern the various elements that go into a divorce. Alimony is one such thing that must be examined on a case-by-case basis. However, there is one essential requirement among most statutes. The marriage must have been of a longer duration to require alimony payments. The actual number of years is what fluctuates from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but a typical thresh hold is ten years. There are circumstances where this requirement may be lowered if the facts surrounding the divorce warrant it. A court must determine this.

The Purpose of Alimony 

As the life of a married couple advances, it brings with it growth. This growth may include job advancements for one or both spouses. It may also mean family growth, such as children. Depending on the values and financial situation, a couple may decide that the spouse with the lesser-paying job should stay home instead of putting kids in childcare. This decision is reached in harmony, and as such, the spouse who stays home gives up an independent income. In some situations, perhaps the stay-at-home parent works part-time. When a divorce action begins, the spouse with little or no income is at a distinct disadvantage with no discernable income to support them. Therefore, alimony payments may go into effect to restore some of that financial footing post-divorce.

Negotiating the Terms of Alimony 

Like many aspects of divorce, alimony is a moving part that can be negotiated. While there may be state-specific parameters, the parties may make accommodations favorable to both to avoid spousal support. Some of these situations involve a greater distribution of assets, a cash payout or even more child support. As long as both parties agree to the terms and a judge believes them fair, alimony payments may be waived.

Hashing out plans that will lead to a divorce decree is not always easy. Having a better understanding of things like alimony may help the process move along. Asking a family lawyer in Bloomington, IL for assistance is one way to become more aware of what is needed.

Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and alimony.

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