After two people get married, it is common for them to combine resources and finances to help support each other. During the marriage one spouse may provide the majority of the financial support for the other. In this situation, you may be entitled to receive alimony or may be required to pay alimony when going through a divorce. Here are some things to keep in mind about alimony:
Alimony is determined by the Judge: Alimony is not guaranteed for any case. The Judge on your case determines the amount of alimony you receive or pay. The Judge will look at a number of factors to determine who receives alimony and how much, if any. These are the factors as set forth by statute:
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;
- The financial resources of each party;
- Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;
- The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties; and
- Such other relevant factors, as the court deems equitable and proper.
Both parties can also come to an agreement to settle alimony expenses.
How periodic alimony affects your taxes: If worded properly in the court order, receiving periodic alimony payments may be considered taxable income and if you are paying periodic alimony payments, it may be tax deductible. Read our article, "Who Pays Taxes In A Divorce".
Types of alimony: There are several different types of alimony that can be awarded.
- Temporary Alimony- Awarded during the divorce when necessary.
- Rehabilitative Alimony- Awarded for a period of time until the individual can be self-sufficient.
- Permanent Alimony- Awarded for long-term marriages and when the spouse is unable to enter the work force.
- Lump Sum Alimony-A large lump sum amount usually taken from the marital estate.
- Attorney Fees- Amounts paid by one spouse to another for attorneys fees in a divorce action is considered alimony as well and may have tax ramifications for either side.
Note: Alimony payments are not guaranteed and are customized to each individual case. It is important to consult a professional to fully understand the different types of alimony.