The divorce process often requires one spouse to provide the other with financial compensation. Alimony payments can be awarded on a permanent or temporary basis based on a number of different factors. No two states’ guidelines concerning alimony are the same. Here are some things to look into if you are trying to estimate the kind of alimony payments you may request or be required to pay.
In many states, permanent alimony awards are now prohibited by law. This means in many places it is unlikely that a spouse can be ordered to make alimony payments until their ex-partner remarries or dies. More commonly awarded types of alimony include:
• Rehabilitative alimony, which provides support for a spouse while they receive education or training necessary to finding a job and becoming self-sustaining. This may be set for a fixed or indefinite period.
• Temporary alimony payments generally are awarded as fixed monthly sums set to end at a certain debt.
• Lump-sum alimony refers to a one-time-only award taking the form of either money or property.
The least expensive divorces can be achieved by couples who agree to cooperate in completing a separation agreement that can be submitted to their district court before or by their hearing date. Agreeing on the terms of divorce in advance can reduce the uncertainty of receiving a judgment from the court that is unsatisfactory to one or both parties.
It is not necessary to consult a lawyer to figure out what kind of alimony payments will be approved by a judge. Couples should assemble all of their financial information, including documentation of their combined gross income and assets. If there are state guidelines, use these in creating an estimate. Online alimony calculators can also help you get a rough idea of what a standard ruling might be.
In some states, judges are allowed to take any factors they consider relevant into consideration when awarding alimony payments. These can include:
• The amount of time it will take the spouse requesting alimony to become financially self-supporting
• The length of the marriage and the standard of living enjoyed by both spouses during that time
• Any unusual or unfair gap between the two spouses’ assets
• The age and physical and mental health of both parties
• Prenuptial agreements
• Child support payments
• Health care expenses
Depending on the state, marital misconduct such as adultery may or may not prohibit a spouse from receiving alimony.
If two spouses cannot agree on the terms of a payment plan, they may decide to split the cost of hiring an attorney specializing in divorce mediation who can help them craft an agreement. While this will add to the expense of a divorce, if both parties are committed to coming to terms without relying on a judge, this will help ensure the best possible guaranteed outcome for the couple.
Whether or not there is a payment plan submitted, the court always has the final authority in deciding what kind of alimony payments to grant.