Spousal support, commonly known as “alimony” is often an intricate part of a divorce proceeding and can influence how marital assets and debts are distributed in a Final Judgment of Divorce. Alimony is a privilege, which must be requested by the spouse seeking alimony payments. If the parties are unable to agree to an amount of alimony, the Court will make a determination as to whether or not alimony should be awarded to a spouse
In determining whether or not alimony should be awarded to a spouse, the Court will consider the length of the parties’ marriage and the financial condition of each of the parties. Property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage or property acquired by a spouse due to inheritance may not be considered in determining the proper amount of alimony. Generally, the parties must be married for at least ten (10) years before alimony will be considered in a Final Judgment of Divorce. Marital misconduct can be considered by the Court in determining an appropriate amount of alimony to be paid by one spouse to the other.
There are different types of alimony that the Court may consider in a Final Judgment of Divorce. These include permanent alimony, lump sum alimony, periodic alimony, rehabilitative alimony, alimony in gross, and pendent lite alimony.
Permanent alimony is alimony payments that are paid to a spouse for his or her maintenance and support. The duration of permanent alimony may be for the life of either spouse or remarriage by the spouse receiving the alimony.
Lump sum alimony is alimony that is paid out to a spouse as a property settlement.
Periodic alimony refers to payments made on a periodic basis. Periodic alimony may be paid for a specific amount of time and can be made weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Rehabilitative alimony is characterized as alimony payments to a spouse that is used to rehabilitate that spouse to being able to lead a self-supporting lifestyle. Often rehabilitative alimony is used where one party did not work during the marriage, at the request of his or her spouse, or where one spouse did not pursue a career or further education in order to raise the parties’ children.
Alimony in gross is a payment where there is a certain amount to be paid and the right to alimony must be vested.
Pendent lite alimony is temporary alimony that is awarded to a spouse during the divorce proceeding until a Final Judgment of Divorce can be rendered.
The Whitaker Law Firm has experience in assisting clients in seeking alimony, the enforcement of alimony payments, and modification of alimony. If you are owed alimony and your former spouse refuses or does not make payments, you may seek enforcement of the payments from the Court. The Court, if it sees fit, may enforce alimony payments by garnishing the former spouse’s wages, by placing a lien on property, or any other method that the Court deems fit and proper under its contempt powers. The Whitaker Law Firm assists clients subject to paying alimony in modifying alimony payments. Alimony payments may be modified if a material change in circumstances that arise after the Final Judgment of Divorce was rendered, such as, inability to pay, laches and acquiescence, credits and the doctrine of “unclean hands.”
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