What You Need To Know About Alimony

Ending a marriage can be both emotionally and financially devastating. To help ease the financial burden that a spouse may feel after the divorce is final, some judges will award alimony to the spouse who generates less income. Alimony can be a useful tool in helping you rebuild your life after a divorce. Learn more about the alimony process and how it can benefit you.

Alimony is based on capacity to earn.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that only their current income will be taken into consideration when alimony calculations are completed. This is simply not true. Alimony is based, in part, on a spouse's capacity to earn in the future.

A judge will look at each spouse's work history, education, and skills to determine how easy it would be for the spouse to support him or herself. If a spouse with an engineering degree opts to be a stay at home parent while his or her spouse works as a mechanic, the non-working spouse has the higher earning capacity. Alimony will be awarded accordingly.

Alimony payments are not indefinite.

It's important to recognize that you will not be able to rely on alimony payments for financial revenue forever. Most alimony payments are given a finite date by a judge in the divorce decree.

Alimony can also be eliminated or reduced greatly when your children reach adulthood, or you remarry. Be prepared to work toward supporting yourself without alimony income so that you are not financially devastated when the payments cease to arrive.

You can take action if your spouse isn't paying alimony.

Some spouses will withhold alimony as a way of punishing their former partner. Since alimony is awarded by a court order, a spouse failing to make scheduled payments is in contempt of court.

You can take legal action to have your former spouse's paycheck garnished for the alimony you are entitled to. Some states will even place those reluctant to pay alimony in jail as a means of soliciting their compliance.

It's important to recognize that you have options in the event your former spouse doesn't provide you with the financial support you have been awarded following a divorce.

Alimony is a complex and challenging concept. Many factors can affect the awarding of alimony during a divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to help you maximize your alimony award to reduce the financial strain you may feel once your divorce is complete.