Alimony, also known as spousal support, refers to regular payments that one spouse makes to another while legally separated or divorced. The main purpose of alimony is to acknowledge the contribution of the recipient spouse to the marriage and aid the recipient in accomplishing financial independence.
Types of Alimony
In general, these types of alimony arrangements will be dependent on the different requirements and circumstances of divorcing couples.
- Rehabilitative Alimony – This is paid for a predetermined amount of time and can normally be upgraded or modified for use in getting work skills or an education.
- Lump Sum Alimony – Depending on the state, alimony may be paid in full. The amount is typically equal to the overall amount of monthly alimony payments. But, this arrangement may have substantial tax consequences, so it’s recommended to consult an alimony attorney to discuss your options.
- Permanent Alimony – This arrangement involves paying monthly alimony for an unspecified amount of time, but not for life.
Only those who were legally married may be granted alimony. In addition, the laws concerning alimony will vary from one state to another, but are usually dependent on the duration of the marriage.
For short marriages, generally those under five years, the court will assume that you still have the capacity to support yourself as you did before your marriage. Both parties are usually expected to be generally self-supporting and significantly independent within that short span of time.
For long marriages, those that lasted for over five years, permanent or extended alimony may be granted. The court will consider the following factors when coming up with a decision:
- Both parties’ individual earning capacities and other income sources
- Assets and debts obtained by both parties in the divorce
- The difference between both parties’ earning capacity
- The mental and physical health of the recipient spouse
- Contribution of both parties as a homemaker, or to education or career
- Length of marriage
Because of the many complexities and requirements concerning alimony, it is best to get an alimony attorney to make ure all your legal rights will be preserved.