February 17, 2017
After a divorce, finances can be especially difficult to figure out. If you and your former spouse shared finances, it can be confusing and overwhelming deciding who gets what. If you rely heavily on your partner financially, divorce can be a scary prospect, but you may be entitled to alimony. How does alimony work? Who qualifies? How much are you entitled to? These are all common questions people considering divorce ask, so let’s address them.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is a husband’s or wife’s court-ordered provision for a spouse after separation or divorce. In some states this support is called alimony, while in others it is called “spousal support”. No matter what your state calls it, alimony is determined by the court and whichever party is required to pay alimony must do so by law. Alimony agreements can be either short term or long term, depending on the situation and what the court decides. In some cases, alimony is only awarded until the receiving spouse can secure a job or finish any school programs they may be attending.
Who Qualifies for Alimony Payments?
Whether or not you are entitled to alimony payments is determined by the court based on you and your spouse’s financial situation. Alimony is different than child support, and you do not need to have dependants to receive it. The amount of money you make in comparison to your spouse is taken into consideration when determining the amount of alimony that must be paid. If you are unable to support yourself financially, but your spouse earns a significant income, they will likely be required to give you spousal support.
How is the Amount of Alimony Determined?
The amount of alimony to be paid monthly can be determined by both parties of the divorce in negotiations, but if both parties cannot agree, the court will decide. As with most things in marriage law, coming to a decision together is preferable to having the court decide for you. Things such as your income, housing situation, your field of work, and capacity to earn money are all taken into consideration when determining alimony payments.
Do I Have to Pay Alimony?
If you have been unable to come to an agreement for alimony payments with your spouse during divorce proceedings and the court has become involved, you must make payments or face legal action. If you are on the receiving end of alimony payments, and your former spouse has ceased payments, contact your lawyer immediately to take legal action against them. In some cases, people who neglect their alimony payments can even face jail time.
Divorce can be extremely difficult, and the financial side of it can cause panic for both parties if they don’t know what they are doing. At Okun/Billian our team of professionals can help you navigate the complex process of getting a divorce, and help you determine if you should be paying or receiving alimony. If you are facing a separation or divorce, give us a call today!