5 Things You Should Know About Alimony

Filing for divorce is not easy. There are many different things a person has to figure out while going through the process. Here are five things you should know about alimony: 

Alimony Is Not Always Guaranteed

Alimony has changed in recent years, along with societal norms and trends. Historically, it was typical for the wife to receive alimony payments since the norm in society was that the stay at home mom took care of the house and children. Currently, it is not uncommon for both partners to work and wages are often comparable. In those situations, it is not likely that alimony will be awarded to either party. However, there are some marriages where one parent chooses to work part-time or not at all so that he or she can take care of the children instead of sending them to child care. In those circumstances, the court may award alimony to that parent. It is worth noting that states have their own laws and regulations regarding alimony which is a large determining factor if and how much alimony will be awarded. Typically, states and courts agree that in some cases there is a need for the stay at home spouse to have time to get back on his or her feet and may award alimony within a specific period of time.    

There Is No Formula to Determine the Amount

When it comes to how much alimony will be awarded, the family court will consider state alimony laws, the income of both parties, household expenses, and the children in the home.

You Could Face Charges if You Do Not Pay

Alimony is a court order and as such the monthly payments are required by law. If you miss a payment, you could be facing criminal or civil charges. In the event that you cannot pay your alimony, it is recommended that you contact your ex and come up with a resolution that works for both of you. If that is not a possibility, you can file a motion for alimony modification with the court that determined the alimony agreement.

Alimony Is Different from Child Support

Although the court may consider children in the home when calculating appropriate alimony payments, child support is a completely different legal and financial responsibility. The purpose of child support is to ensure the children’s ability to thrive and undergo the least amount of disruption in their daily lives after divorce. The monetary amount is meant to go directly to the children and reflects the needs of the children such as medical expenses, school and extracurricular activities, clothing, and food.  

Modifying the Alimony Amount Is Possible

In some cases, it is possible to get your alimony payments reduced or even terminated. If your ex has remarried or has received a significant raise at work, the court could possibly grant a modification in alimony payments. On the other hand, if you have fallen ill and cannot work or you have lost your job, you may submit a petition for a change in the agreement. Whatever the circumstances, they must be significant for the judge to consider the modification request and you will need to file a motion to modify the alimony agreement with the court in which the alimony was established. It is recommended that you seek legal counsel as the process can be tedious.