What Is Alimony and How Does Alimony Work?
When you are married, there is a likelihood that one partner earns more money than the other. In some cases, you will find that one partner earns no money at all but takes care of all the house chores, looks after children, and ensures everything is in order.
In such a case, the partner who doesn’t have an income may be left with no means to support themselves if separation or divorce occurs. Alimony exists to protect such spouses should the unexpected happen, and the marriage is dissolved.
So, what is alimony and how does it work? Alimony can be defined as spousal support that is usually granted during a legally married couple’s divorce. In simple words, the higher-earning partner is forced to transfer some funds to the lower-earning partner to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can maintain the same standard of living after the divorce.
Read on to find out the different types of alimony and how where they apply.
How Do You Qualify For Alimony?
So, how do you qualify for alimony? The truth is that whether or not you qualify for alimony depends on a wide range of factors. The most important determinant is how long you have been married to your partner and your earning capability. The court will also evaluate your partner’s ability to pay for alimony.
If you have been married for a relatively long period and both of you work, with almost equal incomes, the court will most likely dismiss an alimony case when it is filed.
However, if you have been in a long-term marriage (long-term means more than ten years in most states) and you were a stay-at-home parent, have no pension plan to your name, and no marketable skills that can help you earn a living, you will probably be awarded alimony.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that the type of alimony you receive will depend on the laws governing spousal support in your state, and your partner’s financial situation.
The Types of Alimony
Asking yourself the question “how does alimony work?” Here are the different types of alimony to help you understand.
1. Temporary Alimony
Temporary alimony is also referred to as “pendent lite” and is usually given when you have separated from your partner, but the divorce is not yet final. Temporary alimony is issued so that the dependent spouse can maintain a decent lifestyle from the time the couple separates to the time the divorce process is finalized.
This type of alimony is usually issued via a temporary court order. Should the couple reconcile along the way or finalize their divorce process, the court order ceases, and the alimony stops. A family court will reassess the alimony when the divorce process is complete and provide the way forward.
2. Rehabilitative Alimony
If one partner is not self-sufficient, a judge may award rehabilitative alimony until the time when he/she finds means of taking care of his/her needs and any children included.
This type of alimony is usually reviewed at intervals to check on the overall progress of the recipient. The primary purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to give the recipient time to learn some marketable skills, find employment or put him/her in a position where he/she is earning some money and can take care of their needs.
However, there is no set timeframe for reviewing rehabilitative alimony. Such issues are handled on individual cases.
For instance, a judge may establish that a husband is to pay his ex-spouse alimony until their kids start schooling so that the mother can find time to go out and earn a living. In another case, the same judge may order that alimony is only paid for a period of three months to give the wife time to find a sustainable job and start catering to her own needs.
Typically, the situation will be reviewed at the end of the set period, and appropriate changes made. The judge may choose to terminate the alimony or extend the period.
3. Permanent Alimony
As the name suggests, permanent spousal support doesn’t give an end date. It continues until the death of the payer, death of the recipient, or re-marriage of the recipient. In some cases, it can continue even after the re-marriage of the recipient.
If you are receiving permanent alimony, it is always a good idea to ensure your spouse carries life insurance with you as the beneficiary. If he/she dies and are left behind, you won’t have to suffer financially for losing your spousal support.
Sometimes, permanent alimony can be adjusted based on the change of circumstances. A change in the recipient’s financial status can lead to a change in the amount of money he/she receives as alimony.
If the recipient becomes financially stable or gets a job with a higher salary, the payer can petition the court to modify the alimony so that he/she pays less amount of money.
Similarly, if the recipient suffers a loss of salary or becomes incapacitated, he/she can petition the court and request an increase in the amount of money received as alimony.
4. Reimbursement Alimony
This type of alimony is paid so that one partner can “reimburse” the other for certain expenses incurred by the other spouse. For instance, if you are married to a doctor, and you helped him/her through medical school, you may be entitled to reimbursement alimony when you divorce.
In this case, your spouse will be expected to pay back the money and other resources you invested in his/her career. The payment can be in a lump sum or spread over an agreed-upon period.
5. Lump Sum Alimony
Lump sum alimony refers to spousal support that is fixed in amount. This type of alimony can be paid once or in installments. The key feature is that the sum amount awarded is fixed and cannot be altered whatsoever.
If paid in installments, the alimony can only be terminated when the supported partner dies but not when the supported partner remarries.
Lump-sum alimony is awarded in cases where the divorcing parties desire some form of certainty of a fixed support obligation or when the supported spouses demand a fixed amount of money as alimony.
Meet Experienced Alimony Attorneys at Legal Giant
Alimony can be a subjective decision. If the matter goes to court, it is upon the judge to decide whether your separation will include alimony, how much it will be worth, and how long it will be paid.
In such a case, you need an experienced alimony attorney to fight for your rights. Since alimony is entirely within the presiding judge’s discretion, your attorney’s aggressive representation can be the main difference in whether spousal support is awarded or not.
Our team of experienced alimony attorneys is ready to fight for your rights and ensure you get what you deserve. Talk to us today, and we shall gladly evaluate your situation and discuss alimony. Our lawyers are always available for consultation.