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What do I need to know about alimony before I get divorced?

What do I need to know about alimony before I get divorced?

Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re headed for divorce, the court may include alimony payments (also known as “spousal support” or “maintenance”) in the divorce decree. The determination of whether you will be the one obligated to make the payments or your spouse will have to pay alimony will rely in large part on who makes more money. There are exceptions to this which a divorce lawyer can explain to you after a review of your circumstances. Two of the most common exceptions are when the marriage did not last long or if both spouses earned roughly the same annual salary.

Alimony Payment Arrangements

If the court decrees that you must pay monthly alimony to your former spouse, the arrangements will likely follow typical guidelines. Your divorce lawyer can inform you if any of the following will not apply in your case:

  • You will be obligated to make monthly alimony payments until a date specified by the judge. This is usually a period of several years.
  • You will be obligated to make monthly alimony payments until your former spouse remarries or cohabitates with another adult who contributes to their finances.
  • You will be obligated to make monthly alimony payments until your children no longer need to live at home for parenting purposes.
  • You will be obligated to make monthly alimony payments until a judge makes the determination that your spouse has not made a reasonable effort within a reasonable period of time to increase their income level.  
  • You will be obligated to make monthly alimony payments until or unless you experience a significant lifestyle change such as losing your job, substantial reduction in income, etc.
  • You will be obligated to make monthly alimony payments until you or your former spouse dies.

Coming to Agreement with Your Spouse

Just as with other aspects of your divorce agreement, you and your spouse can come to an agreement on who will pay alimony, the amount of payments, and how long they will make those payments. A divorce lawyer can represent you during these negotiations. If both parties are willing to invest the effort to make this process successful, it allows both of you to avoid going to court. When a judge has to make the decisions, the divorce process will likely take longer and as a result, will cost you more money in fees.

Protect Your Best Interests

Alimony payments can be a substantial financial obligation that lasts for several years. It may be in your best interest to hire a spousal support attorney relies on at the onset of the divorce proceedings in order that they can protect your rights from the very beginning.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Law Group for their insight into family law and what to know about alimony before you divorce.

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