Spousal support & alimony spark a lot of confusion! While this term is widely used, not many people know its exact meaning. When a married couple gets divorced, alimony is awarded to one of the former spouses based on the agreement between the couple or a decision taken by the court.
This type of alimony is different from the division of marital property. Many people confuse spousal support and alimony, and child support, these two are completely different forms of support. It should be noted that spousal support differs from alimony related to children or marital property in legal and practical terms. It is best to consult a divorce attorney for proper guidance!
But What Is Alimony?
Alimony is the sum of money awarded to one of the spouses to limit any economic effects of the divorce. There are several reasons for rewarding alimony. In higher incomes families, alimony is awarded to continue the standard of living the spouse had during the marriage. A spouse may have given up their career to support the family, and they need time to develop skills to support themselves. As it takes time to find a suitable and stable job, alimony is awarded to support the spouse financially.
The spouse who wishes to get spousal support must prove in court that they need financial support and that the other spouse can provide it. You can reach an agreement with your spouse regarding the alimony! If you cannot agree with your spouse, the judge will decide whether alimony is to be paid. It is essential to request alimony during the divorce proceedings themselves.
As a part of your agreement, you can decide the length of your alimony arrangement. Otherwise, the judge will decide the appropriate terms for you and your ex-spouse. If you get remarried, your ex-spouse may ask the court to terminate the alimony!
How Does The Court Decide The Amount Of The Alimony?
Any decision regarding alimony depends on a lot of factors. The amount and duration for which alimony is provided to a spouse after the divorce is not mandated by law. The family law judge takes into account the condition of former spouses. They calculate the length of time the recipient will require financial aid. Other things, such as a couple’s standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the payer’s ability, are also considered.
It is the onus of the family law judge to decide how much alimony is awarded and for how long it will stay the same from year to year. Some people believe that the alimony would increase if there is an increase in the paying spouse’s taxable income, but this is not the truth. If there is a significant increase in the taxable income of the paying spouse, the former spouse will not benefit from it.
It should be noted that the alimony may be reduced if there is a significant drop in the paying spouse’s income. It is essential to discuss all such things with your divorce attorney, who will help you fill out a petition in case your income significantly decreases.
Does Only The Ex-Husband Pay Alimony To The Ex-Wife?
As commonly believed, in most cases, the ex-husband pays for the alimony to the ex-wife. But the trends are changing these days. Earlier, only the men of the family used to be the breadwinners, and women were awarded alimony since they depended primarily on their husbands to fulfill their needs.
These days, ex-wives also pay alimony to their ex-husbands. Such cases are marginally rising. With a change in marriage dynamics, we can also see changes in spousal support. Most marriages include two wage earners, and women are no longer considered entirely dependent in every case. The financial dependence of one spouse on another varies in every marriage. Every situation is different; therefore, every divorce mediation process turns out differently.
Deciding on alimony and its various aspects is a crucial aspect of divorce mediation and, thus, should be handled carefully.
It is crucial to differentiate spousal support and alimony from child support. Many people need clarification on these two. If you are going through divorce mediation, please educate yourself about such things, so you don’t end up countering any problems in the future.
The most reliable way is to contact a divorce attorney and let them take care of your legal issues. It will be easy, comfortable, and convenient for you!