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04 Dec 18

Do I have to pay alimony in a divorce?

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One of the most common questions that comes up during a divorce proceeding is about whether one spouse needs to pay alimony to the other. Alimony has more recently become known as spousal support in the court. If one spouse primarily received an income and the other did not, there’s a good chance that the divorce will include alimony payments. With that said, there are a number of factors that affect the amount of alimony that must be paid and the length of time the alimony is paid. It’s also essential to understand the purpose of alimony.

What Is the Purpose of Alimony?

If one spouse was the primary breadwinner or the only spouse who worked throughout the marriage, they will likely need to give their ex-spouse alimony payments. Spousal support payments are designed to ensure that the non-working spouse has financial support following the marriage’s termination. If the marriage only lasted for a short period of time, alimony payments aren’t necessary. You also won’t need to pay any alimony if you and your spouse both had a similar income.

The Length of Alimony Payments

The amount of time that alimony payment continues will vary widely depending on the circumstances. The judge will take several factors into account. As a general rule, alimony payment must continue to be paid until the ex-spouse dies or becomes remarried. However, the judge may reconsider the payment plan if there is a change in one or more of the parties’ circumstances.

If the former spouse’s income becomes higher, the judge may rule that alimony no longer needs to be paid. Similarly, the former spouse getting a new job may be cause for alimony payments to be stopped or reduced. When the former spouse’s children leave the house, there may be adjustments to the spousal support payments. Any other financial circumstance may require that the judge ends or modifies the alimony payment.

What if a Spouse Is Unable to or Refuses to Pay Alimony?

A frequent complication of divorce is a spouse who isn’t able to make alimony payments. Each state has specific laws about marriage, divorce, and alimony. What happens in this case will vary depending on your specific state’s laws.

A working spouse may be ordered to make alimony payments to their former spouse, who does not work. The working spouse decides they are unwilling to pay the agreed-upon alimony amount. In this case, the judge will consider both the non-working spouse’s situation and the working spouse’s financial standing.

The judge has the option to either modify the existing order or to reinforce the original order. No matter what the circumstances, it’s up to the judge to decide the matter. Should a spouse continue refusing alimony payments after their contest fails, they’ll be considered to be in contempt of court. It’s possible that they will spend some time in jail.

Alimony on a Temporary Basis

There are certain situations in which alimony is awarded on a temporary basis. This happens when one spouse is financially dependent on the other throughout the divorce proceeding.

Temporary alimony will typically be ordered before the divorce has been finalized. The payments will continue until the finalization of the divorce. This helps the financially dependent spouse to live independently of their spouse without being harmed financially.

When the divorce is finalized, this represents the end of the temporary alimony agreement. The temporary alimony agreement will typically be replaced by a permanent arrangement as part of the final divorce decision. Full alimony payments won’t necessarily be the same as the temporary payments; a spouse may receive higher or lower payments than they did on a temporary basis.

When Alimony Is Important

In many cases, alimony payments are vital to the health and well-being of the financially dependent spouse. This is the case especially if they’re a stay-at-home parent.

Stay-at-home parents typically do not have an income, or they have very little income. However, they take on a full-time job taking care of the marriage’s children. It’s common for stay-at-home parents to be the primary custodial parents following a divorce, since they took on most of the physical child-rearing responsibilities in the marriage.

If a stay-at-home parent doesn’t receive adequate financial support from their ex-spouse, they won’t be able to continue this role. Child support payments are enough to fulfill financial obligation to a child, but not to support a spouse. A parent shouldn’t have to choose between financial stability or their children

If you are contemplating a divorce, one of the issues that you may need to consider is whether or not you will be paying alimony to your former spouse. While you won’t know for sure if spousal support will be required until the case is settled, there are several factors that may determine the likelihood of paying alimony in a divorce.

Who Makes More Money?

Generally, the person who pays support is the person who made more money during the marriage. However, if your former spouse is able to get a job or has other means of income after the divorce, spousal support may be limited or nonexistent. In some cases, a judge may order support for a few months after the case is settled to allow the other spouse time to go to school or find a job to help support him or herself.

How Long Did the Marriage Last?

The length of the marriage may play a role in whether or not spousal support will be owed. If a marriage lasts for more than 30 years or either party is over 65, support may be ordered on a permanent basis. Marriages that last less than a year may dissolve with neither party owing support to the other due to the brevity of the union.

Is There a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a customized marriage contract that both parties sign before the marriage becomes official. It generally resolves spousal support issues without the need to spend money on a lawyer or take up a judge’s time. It is critical that the agreement is deemed to be valid or it may be thrown out and replaced either with a new negotiated pact or one that is based on state law. Prenuptial agreements may be deemed invalid if they are signed the night before the wedding or if they have terms that cannot be enforced by existing contract law.

Is Your Former Spouse With Someone Else?

If your former spouse decides to live with or get married to someone else, you may not have to pay support anymore. While this can help with your own finances, proving that someone is receiving support may be difficult. When your former spouse gets married, there will be a marriage certificate that you can show to the court. However, if your former spouse is merely cohabiting with a girlfriend or boyfriend, it may take a private investigator to find evidence that this is the case. Typically, a video of the old spouse’s car staying overnight at another home or copies of shared expenses are needed to prove cohabiting and end support payments.

It may be possible that you have to pay alimony to your spouse after a divorce. However, there is no guarantee that this will or won’t be the case in your divorce settlement. Even if you do make more money than your spouse or no prenuptial agreement is in place, either party can decide to waive their right to these payments for any reason in an effort to end the case.

If you need more information, speak to one of our NYC divorce lawyers today.

One of the most common questions that comes up during a divorce proceeding is about whether one spouse needs to pay alimony to the other. Alimony has more recently become known as spousal support in the court. If one spouse primarily received an income and the other did not, there’s a good chance that the divorce will include alimony payments. With that said, there are a number of factors that affect the amount of alimony that must be paid and the length of time the alimony is paid. It’s also essential to understand the purpose of alimony.

What Is the Purpose of Alimony?

If one spouse was the primary breadwinner or the only spouse who worked throughout the marriage, they will likely need to give their ex-spouse alimony payments. Spousal support payments are designed to ensure that the non-working spouse has financial support following the marriage’s termination. If the marriage only lasted for a short period of time, alimony payments aren’t necessary. You also won’t need to pay any alimony if you and your spouse both had a similar income.

The Length of Alimony Payments

The amount of time that alimony payment continues will vary widely depending on the circumstances. The judge will take several factors into account. As a general rule, alimony payment must continue to be paid until the ex-spouse dies or becomes remarried. However, the judge may reconsider the payment plan if there is a change in one or more of the parties’ circumstances.

If the former spouse’s income becomes higher, the judge may rule that alimony no longer needs to be paid. Similarly, the former spouse getting a new job may be cause for alimony payments to be stopped or reduced. When the former spouse’s children leave the house, there may be adjustments to the spousal support payments. Any other financial circumstance may require that the judge ends or modifies the alimony payment.

What if a Spouse Is Unable to or Refuses to Pay Alimony?

A frequent complication of divorce is a spouse who isn’t able to make alimony payments. Each state has specific laws about marriage, divorce, and alimony. What happens in this case will vary depending on your specific state’s laws.

A working spouse may be ordered to make alimony payments to their former spouse, who does not work. The working spouse decides they are unwilling to pay the agreed-upon alimony amount. In this case, the judge will consider both the non-working spouse’s situation and the working spouse’s financial standing.

The judge has the option to either modify the existing order or to reinforce the original order. No matter what the circumstances, it’s up to the judge to decide the matter. Should a spouse continue refusing alimony payments after their contest fails, they’ll be considered to be in contempt of court. It’s possible that they will spend some time in jail.

Alimony on a Temporary Basis

There are certain situations in which alimony is awarded on a temporary basis. This happens when one spouse is financially dependent on the other throughout the divorce proceeding.

Temporary alimony will typically be ordered before the divorce has been finalized. The payments will continue until the finalization of the divorce. This helps the financially dependent spouse to live independently of their spouse without being harmed financially.

When the divorce is finalized, this represents the end of the temporary alimony agreement. The temporary alimony agreement will typically be replaced by a permanent arrangement as part of the final divorce decision. Full alimony payments won’t necessarily be the same as the temporary payments; a spouse may receive higher or lower payments than they did on a temporary basis.

When Alimony Is Important

In many cases, alimony payments are vital to the health and well-being of the financially dependent spouse. This is the case especially if they’re a stay-at-home parent.

Stay-at-home parents typically do not have an income, or they have very little income. However, they take on a full-time job taking care of the marriage’s children. It’s common for stay-at-home parents to be the primary custodial parents following a divorce, since they took on most of the physical child-rearing responsibilities in the marriage.

If a stay-at-home parent doesn’t receive adequate financial support from their ex-spouse, they won’t be able to continue this role. Child support payments are enough to fulfill financial obligation to a child, but not to support a spouse. A parent shouldn’t have to choose between financial stability or their children.

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