Questions And Answers About Alimony

If you are planning to divorce your spouse, you may be hoping to receive alimony payments. Still you may not fully understand the details that often dictate the awarding of spousal support. Here are a few questions and answers to help you understand alimony:

When is alimony usually awarded?

Alimony is usually awarded when one spouse earns a much greater income then the other spouse. In addition, the judge will usually only award alimony in cases in which the spouses have been married for a significant length of time, such as multiple years. If both spouses earn a similar income, alimony is usually not offered. In addition, the judge is unlikely to allow alimony when a marriage has been short-lived.

How long is alimony usually paid?

The death of the supported or supporting spouse is not the only reason that alimony ends. Like child support, which tends to last until a child is no longer a minor, spousal support may continue until a child becomes independent. In addition, a cutoff date that is determined by the judge will usually define the end of the alimony payments. Several years of payments are typically permitted.

If the dependent spouse marries another person, alimony may lend. It may also be stopped if the supported spouse makes no attempt at earning more money.

Can the divorcing spouses define the alimony agreement on their own?

In some cases of divorce, spouses can agree upon a set amount of alimony as well as the duration of the payments. Still, in other cases, an agreement cannot be reached. In such instances, the judge will determine the alimony.

If a court determines that alimony should be paid, how is the amount calculated?

Multiple factors are considered when it comes to alimony. The judge may review the gross income of both spouses for the past five years or so. In addition, the age and health of the supporting spouse is considered. Likewise, the dependent spouse's learning ability and time away from the job market are reviewed. Parental responsibilities are also taken into consideration. If a spouse is currently not equipped to earn more money, the judge may consider the cost of the training or education needed to help increase the dependent spouse's earning potential.

Can temporary alimony be offered before a divorce is finalized?

Temporary alimony, which is sometimes called pendente lite, can be awarded before a divorce is final. The alimony helps the supported spouse maintain his or her current lifestyle until the divorce is finalized.

To learn more about alimony, consult a divorce attorney in your area, such as Keith A. Hopson.