Kingston Attorneys Assisting to Your Alimony Needs
Divorce is never easy on anyone, and it can place considerable emotional, financial, and practical strains on the parties involved. No matter the circumstances, any divorce is often a very painful process, and one which is only exacerbated when one spouse faces being left with no financial support.
Alimony refers to financial support and maintenance which can be requested from the lower-earning spouse of the higher-earning party during a divorce. It acts in a similar manner to the child support required if the couple have dependents, but it is designed to help assist the lower-earning spouse financially once the divorce is processed. The overall purpose is to help ensure that the other spouse is able to continue with the lifestyle assumed and enjoyed during the course of the marriage.
Am I Entitled to Alimony?
Determining whether alimony should be provided is a decision for a judge, and they may consider a wide range of factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- Whether there are any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements currently in place
- The separate property belonging to each spouse
- The combined marital property
- Any custody arrangements
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- The financial resources available to each spouse – this includes their earning capacity, any retirement funds put aside, and any profit-sharing benefits they may receive
- The occupation and employment skills of each spouse
- Any ways in which either spouse contributed financially during the marriage
- The age of each spouse, and any existing health conditions
- The conduct of each spouse during the course of the marriage
What Will I Be Awarded?
If the judge determines that alimony should be paid, one party – known as the obligatory – will be required to give financial compensation to the other spouse – known as the recipient – over a period of months, years, or even for the lifetime of the spouse. The amounts awarded will depend largely on the individual circumstances of each couple, and they can be paid from the obligator’s monthly income or from any property they own; both of these factors can determine the type of alimony which must be awarded.
There are four different types of alimony which can be awarded. These include:
- Alimony in Solido: Also known as ‘lump sum alimony’, alimony in solido requires the obligatory to provide the recipient with a lump sum of cash out of their property, generally calculated by determining the total value of all property combined, divided in half. The judge will determine the amount and order the obligatory to pay a certain amount to the recipient which will balance out their property totals more evenly. This allows both spouses to leave the divorce process with the same amount of property concerning finance.
- Alimony in Futuro: Also known as ‘permanent alimony’, this is commonly found in divorces which see one spouse earning a significantly higher amount than the other. It allows the disadvantaged spouse to retain the lifestyle they became accustomed to during the marriage, and it will be awarded until the death of either party, or until the recipient spouse remarries.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: In the event that a spouse makes the decision to engage in any educational program or business training, they may be entitled to receive rehabilitative alimony during the course of their educational course. This will then be paid until the recipient graduates from the program or obtains a job.
- Transitional Alimony: This is alimony awarded to a spouse who was financially disadvantaged by the process of divorce. In the event that the spouse possesses employable skills, but is unable to work due to the ongoing divorce process, they may be entitled to receive transitional alimony, helping them to bridge the financial gap until they are able to recover and secure new employment.
Are There Any Exceptions To Paying Alimony?
If ordered to pay alimony by a judge, the relevant spouse is legally obliged to do so. There are some applicable defenses however; namely, voluntary unemployment or underemployment.
- Voluntary Unemployment: A spouse can be considered to be voluntarily unemployed by a court, and this can be used if one party quits their job for an unjustifiable reason, such as relocating closer to a new love interest or failing to seek adequate employment after being laid off. Deliberately quitting a job to avoid having to pay alimony is also seen as being voluntarily unemployed; here, alimony is calculated according to earning capacity as opposed to actual figures.
- Voluntary Underemployment: If one spouse secures a job which pays an amount far below their earning capacity, they are considered to be voluntarily underemployed. As an example, they may have qualified and worked as a lawyer, able to earn over $150,000 per year, but instead decide to opt for a job which pays only $50,000. In these cases, alimony will be awarded depending on how much they could make, not how much they actually do.
What Are My Next Steps?
If you have a question or query about alimony, or believe that you are in a position to make a claim, you need to seek advice from a reliable, experienced, and knowledgeable third party.
Here at Davis Law Firm, we have helped spouses from all over Kingston and beyond to fight for their right to alimony and to secure the support and assistance they deserve. Get in touch with the team today at (865) 354-3333 and see how we can help you take the next steps forward towards financial equality and security.