Financial Support For A Former Spouse
Alimony, or spousal support and maintenance, is a financial agreement that’s made between divorced couples. This financial agreement is legally binding and requires that one partner pay the other after a divorce.
There are various forms of alimony. Permanent alimony is the type most people immediately think of. In this arrangement, payments are paid regularly without an end date unless the divorce agreement is amended. If an ex-spouse experiences a significant change in income, alimony payments may be adjusted.
Spousal support in divorce such as lump sum alimony, another form of post-divorce compensation, may be calculated and paid in one large payment. Temporary alimony, also called rehabilitative alimony, is paid to one partner for a temporary length of time to help them achieve independence— for example, in the form of tuition for schooling.
Determining Spousal Support and Maintenance (Alimony)
In an uncontested divorce, both parties may agree on spousal payments and include them in a divorce agreement. In situations in which spouses are unable to come to a consensus regarding alimony, a court determines payments.
Unlike child support payments, however, spousal support is not determined by a specific formula based on income, expenses and other criteria. Instead, spousal support guidelines are left to the discretion of a judge. This official of the court may consider a number of factors in order to make a final decision on alimony payments, including:
- The length of time the couple was married
- The health status and age of both individuals
- The financial resources available to each party
- Each spouse’s ability to be financially independent
- Each spouse’s current level of income
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
- Contributions or sacrifices made for the marriage
These are only some of the factors that can be used to determine the amount and payment schedule of alimony payments. Additional aspects of a divorce may also be factored in at a judge's discretion.
Protect Your Financial Interests
If you and a spouse are involved in a contested divorce, it is important that your financial interests are effectively represented before a judge responsible for determining the level of financial responsibility due to your spouse.
An attorney can prove an important advocate during a divorce trial, doing everything possible to provide the most favorable outcome for you. Even if you and a partner are engaged in volunteer mediation to determine alimony, or spousal support and maintenance levels, property division and other potentially contentious issues related to a divorce, it’s a good idea to secure the services of an attorney.
A lawyer will protect your rights, meanwhile serving as an effective advocate who has your best interests in mind. This person can also negotiate regarding how much child support is and other financial areas that contribute to how much a divorce costs.