4 Things You Need to Know About Alimony

Going through a divorce can be an incredibly stressful time for any couple. You will have to work out all the details of custody, assets and alimony. Whether or not alimony is to be paid, and for how long, can be a big question that needs to be discussed. While you will be aided by your divorce lawyer, it can be helpful to understand a few of the basics before beginning your discussions.

Duration of Time Can Vary

There is no specific set amount of time that alimony should be paid for. It can be different based on every case and circumstance. Your alimony can end at a set date in the future established by the judge or if your spouse fails to find sufficient income in a period of time set by the judge. You may be paying alimony until your ex-spouse remarries or until your children no longer need a full-time parent at home. Of course, your alimony would cease if either spouse was to pass away or make a significant life change, like retirement. There is no set rule for how long you could be paying or receiving alimony so it is good to be educated about all of your options and possibilities before entering into a contract.

Alimony Can Push You Into Debt

Many people believe that alimony payments can cease if you are going into debt. However, as previous cases have determined, that is not usually the case. In the instance of Helling vs. Bartok, the husband’s alimony payments exceeded his monthly net income, forcing him further into debt each month. Often, the only thing that can alleviate this burden is if the child care expenses are taken care of by the spouse paying alimony. Usually, alimony is only required if one spouse makes a significantly larger amount of money than the other.

Limitations on Receiving Alimony

The capacity of the ex-spouse expecting to receive alimony will be established by the court. The court will hire occupation specialists who can discern whether or not the ex-spouse’s potential income will be enough to maintain quality of life. The spouse seeking alimony payments can not expect to maintain a low-paying part-time job if they are capable of securing a higher paying full-time job.

Legal Action

Any cases involving family matters must be treated delicately by all legal advisors as well as individuals. In the event that alimony is failed to be paid, the spouse must go take it to court to demand payment of past-due support. Legal action taken may include a “contempt” proceeding or an “earnings assignment order.” As with any other court order, those involving alimony carry the same weight and must be adhered to by the offender. If necessary, some courts will jail the offending spouse who refuses to make payments.

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