Ah, alimony. One of the most feared words in any set of divorce proceedings.
It’s difficult to track how many people make alimony payments in the United States since that hasn’t been tracked by the census since the nineteen nineties. However, if you must pay alimony, just know that you’re not alone.
Here are ten things you should know about alimony before your divorce goes through.
1. Alimony Laws Vary by State
Alimony laws are anything but consistent across state lines. Make sure to check your local laws to see what you’re dealing with.
2. Alimony Is Not Child Support
While considered part and parcel of the divorce package, alimony is not child support. Alimony supports the spouse, where child support supports the child.
3. Spousal Actions Matter
The actions a spouse takes during a marriage and divorce proceedings may affect alimony eligibility and payment amount. If one spouse paid for another’s business or education, alimony could request a repayment of that debt.
4. Alimony May or May Not Be Taxable
Is alimony taxable? The answer depends on when your divorce was finalized. You’ll need to speak with your local tax office or family law attorney for more information.
5. Alimony Has a Purpose
Alimony doesn’t exist to make one partner suffer at the other’s expense. Rather, it exists to equalize financial standing and resources between ex-spouses.
6. Alimony Is Not Guaranteed
No one is guaranteed alimony payments in a divorce. Whether or not alimony gets awarded depends on a judge’s ruling.
7. Husbands and Wives Can Get Alimony
While wives are often considered the most common recipients of alimony, husbands aren’t ineligible for it. Many factors play into who may receive it, but sex is not one of them.
8. Alimony May Not Be Permanent
Depending on the type of alimony you pay out or receive, it may not be permanent. The main types of alimony include:
- Bridge-the-Gap Alimony, designed to assist with short-term needs
- Rehabilitative Alimony, designed to help a spouse support themselves
- Durational Alimony, which provides financial aid during a set period
- Permanent Alimony, which offers support with no set end date
- Lump-Sum Alimony, which gets paid in one large lump-sum
You need to speak with an alimony lawyer to review the terms of your divorce agreement to see which type applies to you.
9. Longer Marriages Secure Alimony
Longer marriages have a greater chance of securing alimony payments after a divorce. This is due to the increased chance of one spouse becoming financially dependent upon the other.
10. Check Your Divorce Agreement
As with everything that occurs in the fallout of a divorce, you need to make sure you review the terms of your divorce agreement. If you don’t read through the contract cover to cover, you might find yourself the recipient of an unpleasant surprise when alimony payments come due.
Need More Legal Information?
Whether you’re going through a divorce with alimony now or have run into other legal issues, you deserve to have access to accurate legal information. Check out our blog each day for more helpful, informative articles like this one!