Often, divorce does not sever the responsibility of one spouse over the other for there is what is termed as alimony or spousal support, wherein one spouse will need to provide financial support to the other to ascertain that the dependent spouse will not live a financially-burdensome life. This is the primary purpose of alimony which state courts always see to. According to some Raleigh divorce lawyers, courts observe the policy of making sure that the spouses and the children are able to continue to enjoy the standard of living that they enjoyed before the divorce. Thus, if one spouse gave up all chances for professional and economic growth for the sake of his/her partner and their family, then the more financially able spouse will be required by the court to provide him/her with financial support upon divorce.
Women, traditionally, were the recipients of alimony since it was them who were often required (by societal standards) to cease work and care of the home after marriage. Providing for her and for the rest of the family was, of course, the duty of the father of the house.
Life’s circumstances, however, have greatly changed. Today, more men than women are without work, making them contribute more time to child-care and in the performance of house chores, while more and more workplaces are being populated by single women and mothers.
The earning capacity of both men and women has changed too with women now able to earn even much more than their partner in life. Due to these significant changes in economic situation and opportunities, the recipient of alimony can now also be a former husband.
Alimony is a court-mandated monetary payment that one spouse should make to his/her former partner; it is also known under the names spousal support or spousal maintenance. When making decisions on the issue of alimony, courts usually consider the following factors:
- Earning capability of both spouses
- Age and health of the spouses
- Earned and potential income, and assets of both spouses
- Duration of the marriage
There are different types of alimony or forms of payment recognized in the United States:
- Temporary Alimony: Also known as alimony pendente lite, this type of alimony is awarded to one spouses if, even while the divorce case is still pending, the spouses are already living separately from one another
- Rehabilitative: this type of alimony serves as a re-education or re-training support that will help one spouse find a good-paying job and, so, become self-sufficient
- Permanent: this court-ordered regular payment (usually monthly) is to enable the recipient spouse to continue to enjoy the standard of living that he/she enjoyed before the divorce. This end, however, when the recipient spouse remarries or dies, or if the court modifies its order
- Lump Sum: if the spouse supposed to provide spousal support has been deemed as totally irresponsible in ensuring the monthly payment to his/her former partner, then the court may order this single lump sum alimony payment instead
Failure to pay spousal support can merit the contempt of court. The punishment accompanying this failure can include fines, imprisonment, wage garnishment, liens on property and seizure of earnings, such as earnings from tax refund.
The end of a marriage can bring about many issues that need to be sorted out. Among them are the equal sharing of properties and marital wealth. There are many instances where only one spouse provides the financial support to the other spouse, mainly because the other is his or her dependent. Once the relationship ends and the marriage is being dissolved, alimony could be one of the first and most important parts of the divorce proceedings.
Alimony is the monetary support given by a spouse to the other, usually granted by the court who determines if the divorce has caused unfair economic outcome to one of the spouses. It can either be temporary or permanent. Determining which would be applicable to you and your spouse can be explained by divorce lawyers. There are many types of alimony that can be given to a spouse who earns none or less than the other spouse.
- Permanent alimony – the type where the payment is indefinite. The court usually grants this type of alimony once the other spouse is unable to support themself or they are handicapped in some way, they have no employment skills, or have taken care of the home. However, this alimony can be stopped once the other spouse has remarried, cohabited with another or has died.
- Temporary alimony – also called alimony perdente lite, is granted while the divorce is ongoing or there is no final decision yet. It is paid as support for the divorce cost, everyday expenses and other things that one spouse (who is dependent on the time of marriage). It will cease once the divorce is final, or the court has decided for another type of alimony.
- Reimbursement alimony- this is granted as payment to the financial support on the spouse who has helped put the other spouse through school or any education. It is a continuous payment given until the tuition fee is fully paid, or at least half of it.
- Rehabilitative alimony – given as a support to help the other spouse who is not able to provide for themselves; potentially due to unemployment, disabilities, or other factors. This type of alimony can be given in intervals, and will be stopped once the court finds that the spouse is able to provide for him or herself.
- Lump-sum alimony – given when one spouse prefers to take monetary support rather than get properties or other valuables. The court is the one who can order the lump-sum to be one-time only, as alternative to the property and items of value.
It can be hard to compute the alimony amount, therefore asking about it with competent and trusted divorce lawyers could be beneficial in ensuring you get the right and fair amount. Certain factors can affect the amount of alimony that can be granted, so talking with your divorce lawyers could greatly benefit you in the proceedings to come.