Basic Facts About Alimony

When a couple gets divorced, many issues need resolving. Some of these issues are quickly figured out, but others can get heated. In contentious divorces, the two things that force couples to see a judge are typically money and children.

A frequently debated financial issue has to do with spousal support or alimony. Depending on the state in which you live, you may find out that you must pay it. If you don’t understand the why behind alimony, you aren’t alone. Many people don’t until they are faced with having to pay it. Find out some of the basic facts about this integral part of a divorce settlement.

What Is Alimony?

Sometimes, one spouse may earn a substantial amount of money while the other does not. In instances where one spouse remained home to care for kids, reentering the workforce may take time and training. Alimony is meant to bridge the gap or help supplement the income of the lower-earning spouse. If your marriage meets the time requirements for paying alimony and your spouse earned less than you, it is likely you will have to provide spousal support.

How Does a Court Decide Alimony?

In many states with alimony laws on the books, a marriage must be of a specific duration. For instance, your state may require that the two of you were married for a minimum of 10 years. This is to keep people in short-lasting relationships from trying to come out financially ahead in a divorce. There are some exceptions to the marriage duration that a court may make. For example, if your relationship was more than 10 years, but the marriage was less, you may still have to pay. The court will also look at the circumstances in the income disparity. If your spouse stayed home so you could advance through the ranks in your career, it is more likely alimony will be ordered.

How Much Is Alimony?

The amount and duration of spousal support vary. In some cases, it may be ordered for a short time while the spouse who gets it finds proper employment. If you are going through a gray divorce, meaning your marriage lasted decades, you may have to pay alimony for much longer. The amount of alimony depends on the kind of lifestyle you have maintained throughout your relationship and how much you can afford to pay.

A divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer, can help you navigate the waters of spousal support, along with the other elements of divorce. Contact one in your area for assistance.