One spouse may have to pay the other a certain amount of money after getting divorced or separated. This is called alimony, spousal support, or maintenance. Alimony helps the spouse who earns less or has less money to live comfortably and cope with the financial changes that come with the end of the marriage. Alimony is not a punishment or a reward but a way of balancing the economic effects of divorce.
People have many questions about alimony, such as what is alimony, who pays it, who gets it, how long it lasts, and how it is calculated. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about alimony and provide some general guidelines. However, keep in mind that alimony laws vary by state, and each case is different, so you should always consult a lawyer for your specific situation.
What does alimony mean?
Alimony means a spouse’s payment to the other after a divorce or separation. The payment can be made in a lump sum or in periodic installments, depending on the agreement or court order. Alimony can be temporary or permanent, modifiable or non-modifiable, and can be affected by factors such as remarriage, cohabitation, death, or change in income.
Who pays alimony?
The spouse who pays alimony is usually the higher-earning spouse or the spouse who has more financial resources. The spouse who pays alimony is called the payor or the obligor. The spouse receiving alimony is usually the lower-earning spouse or the spouse with less financial resources. The spouse who receives alimony is called the payee or the obligee.
Who gets alimony?
The spouse who gets alimony is usually the lower-earning spouse or the spouse who has less financial resources. However, alimony is not automatically granted to every spouse who earns less or has less assets. The court will consider several factors to determine whether alimony is appropriate and the amount of alimony to be awarded. Some of these factors may include:
- How long the marriage lasted
- How old and healthy both spouses are
- How much money both spouses make or can make
- How much education and training both spouses have
- How much each spouse contributed to the marriage, such as taking care of the home and children
- How well both spouses lived during the marriage
- How much money both spouses need and spend
- How well the spouse who pays alimony can afford it
- How well the spouse who receives alimony can support themselves
- How both spouses behaved during the marriage
- Any other relevant factors
Can a working wife get alimony?
A working wife can get alimony if she earns less than her husband or if she has less financial resources than her husband. However, alimony is not based on gender but on need and ability to pay. Therefore, a working wife may not get alimony if she earns more than her husband or if she has more financial resources than her husband. Similarly, a working husband can get alimony if he earns less than his wife or has less financial resources.
Can men get alimony?
Men can get alimony if they earn less than their wives or if they have less financial resources than their wives. However, alimony is not based on gender but on need and ability to pay. Therefore, men may not get alimony if they earn more than their wives or if they have more financial resources than their wives. Similarly, women can get alimony if they earn less than their husbands or if they have less financial resources than their husbands.
What is the purpose of alimony
The purpose of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a reasonable standard of living and adjust to the financial changes caused by the end of the marriage. Alimony is not a punishment or a reward but a way of balancing the economic effects of divorce. Alimony can also help the lower-earning spouse become self-supporting through education, training, or employment.
What do I do if I want alimony?
If you want alimony, you will have to ask for it either in your divorce petition or in a separate motion. You will have to provide evidence of your income, expenses, needs, and other relevant factors to support your claim for alimony. You will also have to show that you are entitled to alimony based on the laws of your state and the circumstances of your case. You may also have to negotiate with your spouse or go to court to get alimony.
How long can I receive alimony?
The duration of alimony depends on several factors, such as the type of alimony, the agreement or court order, and the circumstances of both spouses. Different types of alimony may last for different periods of time:
- Temporary alimony: This is alimony that is paid during the divorce process or until a final judgment is issued. Temporary alimony may last for a few months or years, depending on how long it takes to finalize the divorce.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This is alimony that is paid for a limited period of time to help the payee become self-supporting through education, training, or employment. Rehabilitative alimony may last for a few months or years, depending on how long the payee can achieve economic independence.
- Permanent alimony: This is alimony that is paid indefinitely until one of the following events occurs: death of either spouse, remarriage of the payee, cohabitation of the payee with another person in a relationship akin to marriage, or modification by the court based on a substantial change in circumstances. Permanent alimony may last for decades or for life.
- Lump sum alimony: This is alimony paid in one payment instead of periodic installments. Lump sum alimony is not long because it is paid in full at once.
How Do I Get Alimony After My Divorce?
Two ways to get alimony after your divorce are by agreement or court order. If you and your spouse can agree on the amount and duration of alimony, you can include it in your divorce settlement or separation agreement. This way, you can avoid going to court and save time and money.
However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on alimony, you will have to go to court and ask a judge to decide for you. The judge will consider several factors to determine whether alimony is appropriate and how much alimony should be awarded. You will have to provide evidence of your income, expenses, needs, and other relevant factors to support your claim for alimony.
Can I Get My Alimony Judgment Changed After The Divorce?
You may be able to get your alimony judgment changed after the divorce if a substantial change in circumstances affects your or your spouse’s ability to pay or need for alimony. For example, if you lose your job, get a raise, remarry, cohabit with another person, become ill or disabled, or retire, you may be able to request a modification of alimony.
However, you cannot get your alimony judgment changed if it is non-modifiable, meaning that you and your spouse agreed not to change it or the court ordered it to be permanent and final. To request a modification of alimony, you will have to file a motion with the court that issued the original judgment and show proof of the change in circumstances. The court will then decide whether to grant or deny your request based on the best interests of both parties.
What disqualifies you for alimony?
Some factors may disqualify you from alimony or reduce your chances of getting it. Some of these factors may include:
- Earning more than your spouse or having more financial resources than your spouse
- Having a short-term marriage (usually less than 10 years)
- Having an enforceable prenuptial agreement that waives your right to alimony
- Being able to support yourself without assistance from your spouse
- Being at fault for causing the divorce (such as adultery, abuse, abandonment, etc.)
- Remarrying or cohabiting with another person in a relationship akin to marriage
How is alimony calculated?
There is no fixed formula for calculating alimony because each case is different and depends on several factors. However, some states may provide guidelines or ranges for determining how much alimony should be awarded based on factors such as the income and expenses of both spouses.
In general, courts will try to balance the payee’s needs with the payor’s ability to pay while maintaining a reasonable standard of living for both parties.
Some examples of how courts may calculate alimony are:
- Percentage method: This method involves multiplying a percentage (such as 30%) by the difference between the incomes of both spouses. For example, if one spouse earns $10000 per month and the other earns $4000 per month, then 30% x ($10000 – $4000) = $1800 per month in alimony.
- Income shares method: This method involves dividing the combined income of both spouses by two and then subtracting each spouse’s income from that amount. For example, if one spouse earns $10000 per month and the other earns $4000 per month, then ($10000 + $4000) / 2 = $7000 per month as half of their combined income. Then $7000 – $10000 = -$3000 per month for one spouse and $7000 – $4000 = $3000 per month for the other spouse in alimony.
- Needs-based method: This method involves calculating both spouses’ reasonable needs and expenses and subtracting each spouse’s income from that amount.
For example, if one spouse needs $6000 per month to cover their living expenses and earns $4000 per month, then $6000 – $4000 = $2000 per month in alimony.
If the other spouse needs $8000 per month to cover their living expenses and earns $10000 per month, then $8000 – $10000 = -$2000 per month in negative alimony (meaning they must pay back some money to their ex-spouse).
These are just some examples and not actual rules for calculating alimony. Each state may have different methods and factors for determining how much alimony should be awarded.
What if I am receiving alimony and I get remarried?
If you are receiving alimony and get remarried, you may lose your right to alimony from your former spouse. This is because remarriage usually changes your financial situation and reduces your need for alimony. However, this may not apply if your alimony agreement or court order specifies otherwise.
For example, some agreements or orders may state that alimony will continue until a certain date or event, regardless of remarriage. You should check your agreement or order carefully before you remarry and consult a lawyer if you have any questions.
What do I do if my former spouse is behind in alimony payments?
If your former spouse is behind in alimony payments, you have several options to enforce your alimony judgment. You can:
- Contact your former spouse and try to work out a payment plan
- Contact the state agency that handles child support enforcement and ask them to collect alimony as well
- File a motion for contempt with the court that issued the original judgment and ask the judge to order your former spouse to pay
- File a wage garnishment order with the court and ask the judge to deduct alimony from your former spouse’s paycheck
- File a lien on your former spouse’s property and ask the judge to sell it to pay off the debt
- File a writ of execution with the court and ask the sheriff to seize your former spouse’s assets and sell them to pay off the debt
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please contact a lawyer for legal advice.