One of the most important aspects of getting a divorce is settling on an alimony agreement. Unfortunately, failing to understand how alimony works can result in an unfair agreement, and that’s why you need to keep these issues in mind.
The meaning of alimony
Alimony, also called spousal support, is a financial payment made from one ex-spouse to another. The purpose of alimony is to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living after a divorce. Usually, alimony is paid by the spouse who earns more money. Sometimes, alimony is ordered by a judge as part of the divorce decree. However, in other cases, the couple may agree to an alimony arrangement outside of court.
How is alimony calculated?
One of the most important factors in determining alimony is each spouse’s earning capacity. This refers to the amount of money a person can earn based on their employment history, education and skills.
The court will also look at the length of the marriage, the age and health of both spouses and whether either spouse is taking care of young children. For instance, a stay-at-home parent may be awarded alimony to help them get training and reenter the workforce.
Mistakes that people make when it comes to alimony
Failing to understand how alimony works can have serious consequences. One common mistake is assuming that alimony will automatically get awarded in a divorce. In reality, however, there is no guarantee that either spouse will receive alimony payments.
Another mistake is thinking that alimony will last forever. In most cases, alimony is only meant to be temporary, designed to help the receiving spouse get back on their feet after a divorce. Finally, some people believe that they can avoid paying alimony by getting a divorce in a state with laws that are unfavorable to alimony awards. However, courts often have the discretion to award alimony even in these states.
When you begin the divorce process, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how alimony works. Understanding how different it is from child support, how it’s calculated and what some of the common mistakes are that people make when it comes to alimony can increase your chances of getting a divorce settlement that you’re happy with.