Alimony and Divorce
Understanding that alimony relates to the standard of living in the marriage is crucial. Basically, when the marriage ends, the best scenario is that both spouses keep their standard of living as they were before the divorce. If you are the spouse making all or most of the money, the theory behind alimony is that you are going to have to share that income with your former spouse. The standard of living is how you live and how much it costs to maintain that lifestyle. This standard of living is different for each household, but it comes down to how much you had to spend while you were married and how you spent that money.
In any divorce settlement, the spouses’ income is always addressed, and if you are the spouse that is earning substantially more income, it is likely that you will have to make alimony payments to your spouse. These payments, sometimes known as spousal support, are typically paid each month until a date that is set by a judge several years in the future. However, if you are the spouse paying the alimony, you may not have to continue paying it if your former spouse remarries or if your child no longer needs a full-time parent at home. There are other reasons where you may not have to pay alimony any longer after a divorce. For instance, if you are going into retirement, a judge can possibly modify the amount paid in alimony. Also, if a judge states that after a certain time that your former spouse has not made a real effort to become partially self-supporting, it is possible that you may not have to make further alimony payments.
If you and your former spouse cannot agree on the amount and length of time of the alimony payments, then a court will need to set agreement terms. Having the court make these decisions can be somewhat costly – in time and money. If a spouse refuses to pay alimony, it is recommended to seek legal counsel, like Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, soon to enforce the alimony order. Courts take these orders very seriously, so if you are the spouse that is required to pay the alimony, it is important to make every effort to pay the ordered amount.
Alimony is granted based on you and your family’s needs. For example, if you are the spouse receiving the alimony and your children live with you, alimony needs to include enough money to care for you and your children. Consideration is also given to the other spouse’s ability to pay the alimony, but still meet his/her needs as well.
Resolving issues with alimony can be rather stressful and one of the most difficult issues in a divorce. Sometimes mediation is helpful for both parties to see clearly what needs to be addressed. Additionally, if a child is involved, any alimony granted must account for the overall well-being of the child as well. A mediation process can help the two parties reach a settlement that meets both of their needs.