What is Alimony and What are the Factors for Granting Alimony?

After a divorce one spouse may need financial support from the other, this is known as alimony.  This money is generally paid monthly or in a large lump sum and is used to maintain the lifestyle that they had during the marriage.  There are many tpyes of alimony and some are permanent and others temporary, depending on certain factors.

Permanent Alimony – Usually reserved for marriages which lasted over 18 years, permanent alimony awards one spouse periodic payments for the rest of their lives.

Temporary Alimony – Alimony paid periodically over a period of time set by the court.  Unlike permanent alimony, these payments have a definitive end.

Rehabilitative – Rehabilitative alimony shall be awarded based upon a plan in which the payee shows the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken, and the time frame, including a period of employment during which rehabilitation will occur.

Reimbursement Alimony – May be granted if one spouse supported the other through a higher education program, expecting to share in the fruit of that increased earning capacity.

Factors affecting alimony award:

 (1)     The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;

(2)     The duration of the marriage or civil union;

(3)     The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;

(4)     The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;

(5)     The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;

(6)     The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;

(7)     The parental responsibilities for the children;

(8)     The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(9)     The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;

(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;

(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;

(12) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment; and

(13) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

Modification and Termination of Alimony

A judge may, upon good cause modify an award of alimony.  The amount payable maybe increased or reduced depending on the circumstance.  Typical reasons to modify an alimony award are Large increases in pay, termination of employment, and remarriage.  If you or your former spouse fit into one of these categories you may be able to reduce your monthly payments or increase theirs.  .

 For a free consultation call Avery & Avery, Esqs., at 201-943-2445.

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