Alimony is a part of divorce that is sometimes more difficult to agree upon than separating items purchased while married. It is important to have someone with years of experience in your corner during your divorce proceedings to advocate for you and your interests.
Alimony is awarded to the spouse making less money to make sure there are not any great economic effects because of the divorce. Alimony provides a continuous income to the spouse who may have chosen to stay home and support the family and therefore forfeited a career. This spouse may need time to train or develop the job skills necessary to be financially self-supporting. The spouse may also have had a position making less money and the alimony will make up the difference in income so that they can maintain the same standard of living they knew during their marriage.
How Is Alimony Determined?
The courts have a lot more leeway when deciding whether or not to award alimony, and, if so, the amount and for what duration. This is counter to child support, which most states mandate and have very specific financial guidelines. The states use the guidelines illustrated in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act to assist in recommending alimony awards. The factors below are used in making decisions concerning alimony:
- The number of years the couple was married
- The age, health, financial status and emotional condition of the former spouses
- The standard of living while the couple was married
- Is the paying spouse capable of supporting the other spouse while still supporting herself or himself?
Orders to Pay Alimony or Support
Getting a spouse to pay alimony can be difficult to enforce. Unlike child support enforcement, which can be accomplished through wage garnishment, liens, and any other means of compliance, if the paying spouse refuses to comply with the order, the receiving spouse will need to go through the court to try to receive the money due.
Length of Alimony Payments
The purpose of alimony is to provide the receiving spouse financial assistance for as long as it is necessary to get training to become self-supportive. If there is no alimony termination date on the divorce decree, payments continue until the court decides otherwise. Many alimony payments end when the recipient remarries. If the payer dies, the payments do not automatically stop. If the spouse receiving the alimony has yet to find gainful employment, for health or other reasons, the court may look to the payer’s estate or life insurance proceeds to fund the alimony.
Alimony may be a very important and necessary piece of the divorce decree. An experienced attorney possesses the necessary experience and knowledge to assist and represent you, always putting your best interests at the forefront. Whether you are the payer or the recipient, you should understand the options available and the long term ramifications of each option.