Understanding Alimony

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013

At the end of a marriage, there are numerous issues that need to be resolved by the former spouses. These include the difficult tasks of determining child support, child custody, who gets to keep any family pets, and the equal division of property. In addition to these issues, the court may also decide that one spouse will have to pay the other alimony.

Alimony is an amount of money that is given from one former spouse to the other after a divorce. The end of a marriage will likely bring drastic changes to an individual’s life. Alimony payments are awarded so that the spouse who makes less income after the divorce can have time to adjust to this difference in income. This is seen most often in the cases of stay-at-home moms and dads who do not make any income and suddenly find themselves without the money their ex spouse used to bring in. Alimony payments are most commonly a temporary situation which will last until the spouse who made less income:

  • Readjusts his or her lifestyle to their new income
  • Finds a job
  • Finds a new place to live
  • Remarries

However, there are situations where alimony payments can be permanent. While uncommon, this usually arises when it is clear that an individual’s financial standing is unlikely to ever improve.

Alimony payments should not be confused with child support, which is used to pay for the expenses of a child, such as school supplies and clothing. Therefore it is entirely possible to owe both alimony and child support to an ex, or receive one and pay the other.

Because of this and various other factors, going through a divorce presents numerous unique challenges that many people would not think to consider. However, a divorce lawyer will have experience dealing with these kinds of situations and can help a person pursue larger alimony payments or as little alimony as permissible, depending on which side of the divorce they are on.

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