You can not live together anymore? Have decided to split up? The things will not become better; believe, especially when you are assigned to pay a monthly alimony. Alimony is a legal obligation brought to one of the former spouses to provide financial support to the other one after or before the divorce. The term is also known as maintenance, spousal support or spousal maintenance in other countries. Before getting into the long process of divorce, some basic things are necessary to know.
The purpose of alimony
According to the legal definition, the purpose of alimony is to avoid unfair economic consequences of divorce even after the property division and the award of child support (if any). In the majority of cases, a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse gets alimony. There may be cases when the alimony aims to help a spouse continue living within the standards they used to during the marriage.
The court decides the amount of awarded alimony based on some factors like:
- The age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the ex-spouses
- The period of time that the recipient would need for training or certain education in order to become self-sufficient
- Length of marriage and standard of living
- Whether the payer spouse would manage to support not only the recipient but also himself/herself
Man, the payer?
No! If in the past most alimony payments were provided to wives, today the game rules are changed. The changes of culture and the way of life have led to the changes of traditions when the only man used to pay alimony and woman used to receive it. Currently, courts may also submit orders of alimony payments from the ex-wife to the ex-husband. The tendency is on the rise.
Duration of alimony
When the court orders an alimony, the payer has to provide the monthly payments to the receiver until:
- The judge sets a date several years in the future
- The ex-spouse remarries
- There is no need for full-time parent for your child at home
- Retirement which needs the judge to reconsider the amount of payment
- One of the former spouses passes away
However, you can discuss the amount and duration of the payment with the spouse and make an agreement on it. But if you can’t reach a mutual agreement, then the court will set the terms and conditions. Actually, getting to the court will cause to waste both your money and time.
State law on alimony
As in the majority of cases, alimony law as well differs from state to state. For example, in California, the phenomenon is known as a “spousal support”. When the couple decides to divorce the CA court may require the one who earns higher (may it be either the husband or the spouse) to pay the lower earner to maintain his/her lifestyle which they as a couple used to share during the marital years. What refers to the duration of the support, it depends on the marriage length. If the marriage lasted less than 10 years, the support may be the half of that 10 years, i.e 5 years.
He/she refuses to pay
It may occur that the ex-spouse whom the court entitled the payment of the alimony refuses to do so. In this case, you as a receiver may take legal actions to enforce the payment. But if after the legal pressure the party continues not to pay, the court may take him/her to jail.
When you are going through divorce proceedings, you need an experienced alimony attorney to handle all the necessary legal actions properly. He/she can represent you (whether you are the payer or the receiver) when you are negotiating over the amount or when you try to change the prearranged amount. In short, the spousal support attorney is the one who you can rely on, through all court stages you face. However, before hiring your attorney, make sure he/she covers all services you need to get the settlement you would feel comfortable with.
Find your attorney within our staff and make the best result out of your divorce case. Just call us at 818.553.1000. We will do the rest.