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The Truth about Receiving Alimony

Divorces can often be complex, messy, and emotional.  One situation that occurs during a divorce is alimony.  Alimony can become a complicated situation because the terms of alimony may not mean the same for a man or a woman depending on the state you currently reside, and your unique situation.  Here are a few things men and women need to know about alimony.

What is Alimony?

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is the maintenance and support of a spouse.  If you are the supporting spouse, you will be paying the dependent spouse.  The basic rule of alimony is: the supporting spouse is the person who is the “bread-winner” of the home, and the dependent spouse is the person who makes the least amount of money.  The dependent or supporting spouse can be the husband or wife. There are not any gender roles with alimony.

Coming to a Conclusion

As far as alimony is concerned, it’s a common part of divorce.  You and your spouse should try to come to an agreement of your terms, but if this is not possible, the court will decide upon an agreement that you and your former spouse will have to abide by.  You may not agree to the terms the court sets which is why it is in your best interest to come to a conclusion with your former spouse and present the court with the terms you have decided upon.

What Happens When Alimony is Ordered?

When alimony is ordered, one thing that will occur is the court appearance. During the court appearance, both parties should be present.  Most of the time, your lawyer will present the case and ensure all evidence is presented.  Knowledge of current laws is the primary reason you should hire an attorney.  By hiring an attorney, you do not leave yourself open for unfair decisions and rulings for your case.  Your attorney is familiar with the laws that pertain to your state, and acts as your voice in the case.

How Long Will I Receive or Have to Pay Alimony?

The amount of time you receive alimony or have to pay alimony depends upon several different factors.  if you are the supporting spouse, and your former spouse remarries, you will not be forced to pay alimony.  Other situations that could cause you to stop paying or receiving alimony include, your child or children no longer requiring full-time assistance at home from your former spouse, either you or your former spouse retires, you or your former spouse dies, or either party convinces the judge to modify the terms of payment or cancel the payments altogether.

If You Have to Pay Alimony

If you are ordered by the court to pay alimony, what does this mean for you and your finances?  if you are the supportive spouse, it is in your best interest to make the payments on time.  You need to maintain a steady job so you will not lapse on payments.  Payment lapse does not look good in the eyes of the court.

If You Are Receiving Alimony

As the dependent spouse, you will receive alimony for a certain amount of time, not for a lifetime.  While alimony is set by the court, it is in your best interest to use the alimony payments for household expenses and maintaining your household while looking for a job or an additional job.  If the court does not feel you are not showing initiative to provide for yourself, the amount of alimony may be decreased of canceled.

In the event alimony comes up during your divorce, it’s in the best interest of both parties to play by the rules and not default on their responsibilities. For more information, contact us today to see how we can help you.