Alimony: How It Works in Divorce Proceedings

Alimony word on blocks

Alimony: How It Works in Divorce Proceedings

A divorce is a rough journey, especially with fault grounds. These could affect how you’d deal with issues of child custody, property division, and spousal support or alimony (a.k.a. “maintenance” in some states). If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are willing to settle things amicably, you could be luckier because there’d be relatively lower chances of disputes. On the contrary, if you and your spouse are in terrible terms, the proceedings will be more challenging.

An experienced and skilled divorce lawyer from Sante Fe, NM, or any other location can save you from the substantial trouble divorce brings. While difficulties are still inevitable, having a legal counsel by your side will help you overcome all the obstacles involved in a divorce. Especially if you and your spouse are fighting, the guidance will be even more necessary.

Alimony will be tackled later in the proceedings, after a plan for dividing assets has been made. If your spouse, for example, is earning significantly less than you do, there’s a good chance that you’d be required to pay alimony. In this article, we’d be discussing how this works.

What is Alimony?

Alimony, a.k.a spousal support or maintenance, is a court-ordered payment given to a spouse or an ex-spouse in a legal separation or divorce agreement. The spouse who has the lower income or has nothing thereof is provided financial support by the higher-earning spouse because a divorced spouse has the right to live the same quality of life they had before the divorce.

Factors that Decide the Amount of Alimony

The specific amount of alimony varies depending on the state laws, but generally speaking, the calculation is based on the following factors:

  • The receiving spouse’s need
  • The paying spouse’s ability to provide
  • Duration of marriage
  • Previous lifestyle
  • Both spouse’s health and age

The court usually makes additional considerations when minor children or non-marital assets are involved when determining need. Alimony can also be modified even after the court has decided if, for example, either spouse’s financial circumstances shift drastically. However, changing alimony costs more time and money; hence, some spouses opt for non-modifiable alimony to avoid complexities.

Length of Paying Alimony

money and gavel

As a general rule, alimony has to be paid until:

  • The date set by the court
  • The recipient (your ex-spouse) re-marries
  • Your children no longer need full-time parental guidance
  • The judge has decided after some time that your spouse hasn’t made any effort to improve their financial situation
  • A significant event, such as retirement, for example, in which case amending the amount you need to pay
  • One of the spouses dies

Both spouses can also make agreements on how long alimony has to be provided. If you and your spouse are unable to settle things, the court will have to meddle, resulting in a trial.

Responsibilities of a Recipient

If you qualify for receiving alimony, the court may require you to make some changes to your source of income. For example, if you solely depend on a low-paying part-time job, you may be required to look for a full-time post with a higher salary. Vocational evaluators can be hired to report to the court job prospects for a spouse without a full-time job. They can also endorse this spouse to potential employers so that they can calculate how much income they can earn.

Recipients should keep a record on each payment they receive, with all pertinent details. These include the date, amount, check number or any other identifying information, account number of the payor, name of the bank, photocopy of the check or money order, and a copy of signed receipts.

If the paying spouse refuses to oblige, the recipient should raise this issue to the court. In severe cases, a reluctant payor can be jailed. If you’re going or about to go through a divorce, communicate all your concerns to your legal counsel.

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