Alimony is a financial arrangement that is awarded by the courts, typically as the result of a divorce. Alimony requires that one spouse provide 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 a divorce is take 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 factor 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 woman 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 a main reason as to why woman receive alimony more frequently than men.
4. ALIMONY IS NOT THE SAME AS CHILD SUPPORT – Often times, alimony and child supports then to be confused as one in 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 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 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.