Divorce Guide

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Advice On Alimony


Alimony is an important aspect of divorce. It is the financial support that one spouse pays to another at the time of divorce. In this article we share advice on alimony and give an overview of how it works. Payment of Alimony was started with the purpose of maintaining a fair economic balance between couples after divorce.

Traditionally alimony was paid by male spouse to the female spouse after the divorce. In older days men used to earn for the family and females used to take care of households. But the scenario has changed now. Both men and women are equal when it comes to earning money. So payment of alimony is no more restricted to men. If court finds that the female spouse earns considerably more than her counterpart, she is ordered to pay alimony to her husband. No wonder Sra Evans, the great singer, had to pay $600,000 as alimony to her husband Craig Schelske, who was a blooming politician with no considerable earning of his own.

Alimony can be paid in different ways. It can either be “lump sum” money which is paid one time, or a “permanent alimony” that is paid for lifetime. There is also “rehabilitative alimony” that is paid till the dependent spouse rehabilitates itself and starts taking care of his or her needs. An alimony can also be ordered by the court while the divorce proceedings are going on. This is known as “pendente lite” order that is temporary alimony that supports the spouse while the case is going on.

Every state in US has laws related to the extent and duration of alimony to be paid. However, the final call is taken by the judge whose decision is based on some factors.

Factors Considered By Court For Deciding Alimony :
  • Duration of Marriage: Whether the alimony has to be paid or not depends on the fact whether the couple is married for a considerable period of time. Alimony is granted if the court feels that the spouse has passed enough number of years taking care of the family and kids and thus has not been able to establish his or her own financial stability.

  • Education and Experience: The spouse’s educational background and past work experience also matters while deciding the amount of divorce he or she receives. For example if a spouse is in the middle of some vocational training that will later fetch him or her a paying job, then the court might allow an alimony that is sufficient for that person to complete education and start earning. And if the spouse is already qualified but not working then the court might allow for alimony till he or she finds a suitable job.

  • Earning capacity of the spouses: The amount of alimony that is required by the spouse for a decent support, and can be paid by the other spouse is a subjective matter that depends from couple to couple. The court analyzes the earnings of each spouse before deciding a fair amount as alimony.

  • Extra Income: If a spouse has sources of earning extra income then this is taken into consideration while deciding the amount that has to be paid or received as alimony. For example, although John’s salary was not much he used to earn a lot from shares and stocks. So all this was taken into consideration while deciding the alimony that be paid to his wife after divorce.

  • Property and Assets: Sheila had a lot of assets from her paternal side. When she was divorced, her income from these assets was taken into consideration while calculating the alimony that should be paid to her. If a person has assets or properties on his or her name, then that also affects the amount of alimony that should be paid or received.
Depending on the above factors the court will decide whether the alimony should be paid at all, who will pay the alimony, how much alimony should be paid, and till when the alimony needs to be paid.

At times divorce cases take ugly turn and are dragged for years due to alimony disagreement. The most sane advice on alimony is to be reasonable and not make it an ego issue.

Alimony is important for financial support but stretching your divorce case for alimony is not advisable.

Alimony overview
  • The payer of alimony gets tax deduction, and the receiver has to pay tax over the amount received as alimony
  • Once remarried, you will not be eligible for receiving alimony anymore
  • If you are cohabitating with someone then you are not eligible for alimony
  • Alimony and child support are to be paid separately
  • Alimony ceases after the death of the payer. His or her descendants are not eligible to pay any alimony.
To conclude there are no set rules about who will get how much alimony. The laws differ from state to state in US, and the final jurisdiction is in the hands of the court. As an advice on alimony it would be good to have prenuptial agreements before you get married. This helps in avoiding any disagreement related to alimony after divorce.


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