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Alimony, Family Law, Divorce – Everything you need to Know!

Written by Jimmy Rustling

If things are not working out with your spouse, you might consider getting a divorce. After all, it is better to live happy separately than to live unhappy together. If you are planning on getting a divorce, you might have doubts and concerns about what alimony is, you will receive alimony, or will have to pay for support.

Alimony is not automatic, and every divorce case does not order it. However, if a spouse files a request in the court for alimony, the judge will determine whether alimony is needed or not; if it is, then the higher-earning partner will be expected to pay alimony for the upcoming years.

Understanding Alimony

Alimony is defined as spousal maintenance. Alimony consists of one spouse paying the other. The main purpose of alimony payments is to equate the financial burdens on both parties. A spousal support award may be temporary or be permanent depending on the divorce case. The judge handling the case will determine which spouse needs financial help and can make the alimony payments.

Alimony is usually awarded when the couple has unequal individual earnings; there is a large difference between their earnings and they have been married for many years. In a case where the couple has been married for less than a year, the judge may not award alimony.

In fact, according to the laws of some states, it is prohibited to award alimony until the couple is married for the mentioned period. To get a better understanding of what alimony is and whether your divorce case will be awarded, you can visit the Leigh Daniel, Attorney at Law website to learn more.

Understanding how Alimony Works

If the judge orders to award alimony, it can be paid in an appreciable amount at once, monthly payments, or a property transfer. Periodic payments are the most commonly used way of paying alimony and consist of one spouse paying a fixed amount of money to the other twelve times a year. Large amount payments and property transfer alimony awards cannot be modified, which means they can neither be changed nor terminated once put in place.

A monthly alimony award continues for a specific period and ends on the set date or under the following conditions:

  • The spouse that is supported cohabitates
  • The spouse that is supported through the award remarries
  • Either of the spouses passes away
  • The paying spouse retires
  • The supported spouse gets a job with a higher pay
  • A significant event occurs, and the judge decided that the spouse does not have to pay alimony

Both the spouses can reach a mutual agreement regarding the time and amount of the alimony. If you cannot come down to an agreement, you will need to take the matter to court, which requires a lot of paperwork. Once the court hears your request, it will give you the date and time of the hearing, and then the judge will decide whether alimony is needed or not and will also decide all the conditions for you.

However, getting the court involved will require a lot of money and time. So it is better to reach an agreement with your spouse out of court. You should contact a skilled and experienced attorney such as Leigh Daniel, Attorney at Law, in order to get a better understanding of your case and stance. The attorney will help you determine whether you are qualified for receiving alimony or not and will also help you win your case.

Important rules of divorce alimony you should remember

If you are the spouse who has requested alimony, then the court will look at whether you qualify for alimony or not and decide based on your income and capability to earn. This does not involve only your current earning but rather how much earning potential you have.

For instance, if the spouse is a trained doctor who took many years off to take care of their children and help their spouse grow their career, the judge will determine the spouse’s earning potential. The spouse being a trained doctor, might need some initial financial aid to step into the work environment and field, but a long-lasting alimony award may not be needed.

After a divorce, you will also have to make a few adjustments to your work and lifestyle. For instance, if you are doing a part-time job that isn’t paying you well enough, then you will have to leave that job and go for a full-time job that pays you higher. Vocational evaluators are hired to tell the court about the job opportunities for the spouse who has not been able to find a job.

Alimony and taxes

Alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the spouse paying them. Also, the spouse that receives the alimony payments will not be able to file them as taxable income. This change came in 2017 after many decades of being treated differently. The latest tax rules apply to all divorce orders and alimony awards granted after 2018.

These changes were made to benefit the supported spouses because they are no longer required to pay taxes on the alimony they receive. The spouse who pays the alimony no longer receives tax benefits on these payments. These changes in tax laws can have a major impact on the financial status of either of the spouses, which is why the majority of the courts now look into tax rules of alimony when they decide the amount of alimony to be paid.

Both should have in their record any alimony received or paid. One of the reasons for changing the tax laws on alimony was to reduce tax discrepancies among couples that deduct alimony payments. Also, some spouses who received the payments did not know the payments were a sort of income. And some supported spouses didn’t even receive payments. To make it easier to understand, some spouses, whether they were paying the alimony or receiving it, were not being honest when paying their taxes. Also, it was too difficult and time-consuming for the authorities to track down the people at fault.

In a nutshell

Alimony refers to the payments that are made to a spouse by the other spouse depending on the financial status of each. This is decided by the court, and a legal hearing takes place. Before applying for divorce and requesting alimony, one should be well aware of its impacts, definitions, and the responsibilities it brings along with it.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.