When a couple decides to divorce or legally separate, one of the most significant issues they have to address is alimony or spousal support. Alimony is a financial payment one spouse makes to the other to ensure that the non-working or lower-earning spouse can maintain their standard of living. In this article, we will discuss seven essential things you should know about alimony.
1. Alimony is not Automatic
When people file for divorce or legal separation, they may assume that alimony is automatic. However, alimony is not always awarded in a divorce. It depends on several factors, including the length of the marriage, the socioeconomic status of each party, and other relevant circumstances.
2. It’s Not Just for Women
While women historically have been the primary recipients of alimony, that is no longer the case in most states. Alimony can be awarded to either spouse, regardless of gender.
3. There are Several Types of Alimony
Many people don’t realize that there are several types of alimony. The most common types include temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and permanent alimony. Each serves a different purpose and is appropriate under different circumstances.
4. Alimony is Tax Deductible
For the person paying alimony, it is tax-deductible. This means that you can deduct the amount of alimony you pay from your taxable income, which can result in significant savings.
5. Alimony Can Be Modified
Alimony arrangements are not written in stone. There may be circumstances, such as a significant change in income or other life-changing events, that necessitate a modification of the alimony agreement.
6. Factors Considered in Determining Alimony
When determining alimony, several factors are taken into account. These include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s age and health, and any other relevant factors.
7. Alimony is Not Forever
Alimony is not typically lifelong support. Instead, it is generally established with a specific end date, which means that the recipient will eventually need to support themselves financially.
These are just a few of the essential things you need to know about alimony when going through a divorce or legal separation. Whether you’re the person paying alimony or the person receiving it, it’s crucial to understand your rights, obligations, and options. By discussing your situation with a qualified divorce attorney, you can develop an alimony agreement that works for everyone involved.
Alimony is a financial arrangement that is awarded by the courts, typically as the result of a divorce.
Alimony requires that one spouse provides for regular payments to the other in order to provide for financial support.
Alimony is determined by the courts in accordance to various factors, though some may include the length of the marriage, differences in income between the former spouses, contributions made for and during the marriage, and the ability for a former spouse to provide for him/herself.
Alimony issues can prove to be quite complex, and thus, will usually require the services of an attorney. However, the following are seven things that should be known in regards to alimony:
1. ALIMONY IS NOT ALWAYS GUARANTEED –
Simply because divorce is taking place between a married couple, it does not mean that alimony is automatic after the divorce procedures are concluded. Alimony is determined individually on a case to case basis. There are various factors that the courts consider in regard to alimony, and if the factors do not substantially require alimony payments to be made, the courts will not award alimony payments.
2. ALIMONY LAWS VARY FROM STATE TO STATE –
All issues in regards to divorce and subsequent legal ramifications are in the jurisdiction of the state. Therefore, each state will have its own laws that regulate all alimony matters.
Furthermore, the way each state calculates alimony will also differ, for certain states may give more consideration or weight to certain factors than others.
3. ALIMONY IS NOT ONLY FOR WIVES –
Alimony has been inherently and most commonly associated as an award of the courts granted to wives. However, the sex of the spouse is not supposed to make an impact as to who is to be eligible to receive alimony.
Even though statistics may show that women may receive alimony more often, such a discrepancy may be related to other factors, such as the tendency for males to receive higher incomes in the United States.
Since income is a factor considered in alimony, this may be the main reason why women receive alimony more frequently than men.
4. ALIMONY IS NOT THE SAME AS CHILD SUPPORT –
Often times, alimony and child support then be confused as one and the same. However, both are distinctly different, even though both court grants will involve one party making regular payments to another.
However, alimony is meant to provide for the support of the former spouse, while child support is meant to only provide for the children. Both are awarded separately and determined by different factors.
5. THE LONGER THE MARRIAGE, THE MORE LIKELY ALIMONY WILL BE GRANTED –
Because the contributions made to marriage is considered to be a factor, the overall period of marriage is naturally considered in alimony payments.
The actual length of time that is necessary to qualify is not necessarily included in the legislation, though it can be deemed that marriages of over ten years will have a better chance of alimony payments being granted.
6. A SPOUSE’S ACTIONS DURING THE MARRIAGE MAY BE CONSIDERED IN ALIMONY –
The contributions made during the marriage can be factored in different ways. However, usually, actions by one spouse in terms of financial support will usually be the main factor considered.
An example could be if one spouse helped the other with financial support for college.
7. ALIMONY IS SUBJECT TO TAXATION –
A very important aspect about alimony that is not always apparent, all alimony is considered to be taxable income.
Therefore, the person receiving alimony payments will have to report them on a tax return. Conversely, those making alimony payments can deduct alimony from taxable income on tax returns.