Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment made by one spouse to the other during and/or following a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living during divorce litigation and/or following the end of the marriage. In this article, we will provide comprehensive information on navigating alimony and help you understand the factors that determine spousal support awards.
What is Alimony and How Does it Work?
Alimony is a court-ordered payment made by one spouse to the other during and/or following a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living during divorce litigation and/or following the end of the marriage. Alimony can be awarded as a lump sum or as ongoing payments, and the amount and duration of the award can vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case.
Factors That Determine Alimony Awards
There are several factors that a court will consider when determining an alimony award, including:
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and health of both spouses;
- The earning capacity of each spouse;
- The standard of living established during the marriage; and
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including non-monetary contributions such as homemaking and child-rearing.
Types of Alimony
There are several types of alimony that a court may award, including:
- Temporary alimony: This type of alimony is awarded during divorce proceedings to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living while the divorce is pending.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is awarded to help the receiving spouse become self-sufficient after their divorce litigation has concluded. It is typically awarded for a limited time and the amount is intended to help the receiving spouse obtain the education or training necessary to become self-sufficient.
- Permanent alimony: This type of alimony is awarded following a long-term marriage and is intended to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living following the divorce. Permanent alimony can be awarded in a lump sum or as ongoing payments.
How to Negotiate Alimony
In many cases, alimony awards can be negotiated between the two spouses without the need for a court hearing. This can save both spouses time and money and provide a more customized solution that meets the needs of both parties. When negotiating alimony, it is important to consider the factors that a court would consider when determining an alimony award and to come to an agreement that is fair to both parties.
Modifying or Terminating Alimony
In some cases, a court may modify an alimony award due to a change in circumstances, such as a change in a parties’ expenses, if the parties’ Court Order so permits. An alimony award may also be terminated if a party’s circumstances meet certain statutory criteria or terms set forth in the parties’ Judgment of Divorce.
Navigating alimony can be complicated, but it is important to understand the factors that determine alimony awards and the various types of alimony that may be awarded. Whether you are negotiating alimony with your spouse or seeking a court-ordered alimony award, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney like us at Cynthia H. Clark and Associates to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.