• How is alimony determined in a divorce proceeding?

    Alimony is another word for spousal support where each month one spouse makes a payment to the other spouse according to either a settlement or a court agreement. The reason alimony is sometimes granted is to correct the economic unfairness that one spouse may have over the other spouse. For example if one spouse was a home keeper prior to the divorce, the alimony serves as a substitute income to temporarily support that spouse.

    Many states base the amount of alimony requirement on the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. The act considers the age, physical condition, emotional state, financial condition of the former spouse, the length of time the recipient would need for education, the coupleís standard of living during marriage, the length of the marriage, and the ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and still support him or herself.

    Alimony is not like child support in that it cannot be taken from wages, liens, or other enforcement mechanisms. Because of this difference, it is sometimes hard to enforce the payments other than returning to court in a contempt proceeding.

    Alimony is not permanent; it is only temporarily until the spouse can gain training or obtain a particular employment opportunity to take care of him or herself. If the two spouses do not determine a length of time for the alimony, it must be paid until the court sets an ending date for the payments. An exception to this is if the spouse being paid remarries. Here, the alimony payments will most likely be reduced or even cancelled.

    There are a few types of alimony, which include temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony, permanent alimony, reimbursement alimony, and lump sum alimony. Temporary alimony is given when the divorce is in progress but not yet final. Rehabilitative alimony is a payment given to one spouse while they have the chance to rehabilitate themselves economically. This payment may also be given to a spouse that is at home taking care of a young child instead of working. Usually this payment will remain until the youngest child starts school full time.

    Permanent alimony is a non ending payment. The only factors that will stop permanent alimony is the death of the payor, the death of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient. Unless previously set, the payments may be decreased or increased depending on circumstances. The alimony payment may be decreased if the payerís income decreases or the recipientís income increases. The alimony payment may increase if the payorís income increases and or the recipientís income decreases or has an expensive medical condition or incident.

    Reimbursement alimony has the purpose of reimbursing one spouse for the expenses incurred by the other spouse. For example if one spouse works and supports the other while they attend law school. If there is a divorce, the spouse that supported the family may be entitled for reimbursement for that time of support.

    Lastly, lump sum alimony is a fixed payment. This payment will not be subject to exceptions that would stop the payment. For example if a death of either party occurs or if the recipient remarries, the payment will still be required to be paid for the set time frame.
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