Do I Have to Pay Alimony in a Divorce?
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.