If you may be facing a divorce, there’s a reality that needs to be met. This reality is alimony payments, which means spousal support or maintenance. These costs are applicable across America. If your salary is substantially higher than your spouse and it’s been a few years since your marriage, the court will order you to pay alimony upon your divorce. Of course, for short marital unions or in the vent that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse earn roughly the same salary, it is unlikely that you will have to pay alimony.
How Alimony Works
In the case of alimony, one has to pay the specified amount by the specific date, which the judge mentions in the divorce order. The alimony payment is applicable for several years into the future. This spousal support is payable up until the spouse remarries or if the children no longer require a full-time parent to be at home. After a reasonable period, it happens that the judge determines whether the spouse in question has made a reasonable effort to become at least partially self-supporting financially.
The alimony amount might change if you retire or another significant financial change happens in your life. Like many other issues during divorce, you can agree on an amount for alimony with your spouse as well as the length of time the alimony is payable for. If you cannot agree on this, the judge makes the call and sets the terms. Having a court make this decision spells a high investment of money and time, though.
You shouldn’t feel bad about having to pay alimony. In fact, paying spousal support is one of the costs of marriage. You thought it was a union that would last, but for whatever reason, it didn’t. It is part of many divorces and has been an inseparable part of American divorce law for over a century. However, alimony orders are rather infrequent these days in comparison to what it was earlier. But it is usually because it is more common for both partners in a marriage to have a job these days.
You can expect to receive alimony if you qualify, which they determine by looking at your own earning capacity. Your earning capacity is not necessarily the salary that you earn at the time of going to trial. It takes into account your living expenses are and what your spouse eans as well. The court may ask you to make changes to your lifestyle or your work. This means if you have a part-time or low-paying job, the court may ask you to find a job with better pay. Some vocational evaluators help people find better employment.
Taxation and Alimony
Alimony was a tax-deductible payment for the paying partner as well as a taxable income for the supported partner. For this reason, it is of high importance that proper records of alimony payments are kept. As of 2019, those paying alimony cannot deduct their payments for tax records, and neither can support partners include their alimony in their gross income.
Refusal to Pay
If the court awards you an alimony payment and your spouse refuses to pay, you should take immediate legal action. This should take place as a contempt proceeding or as an earnings assignment order. If the court orders you to pay alimony, you should treat it like any other court order. If need be, a reluctant payer could even end up in prison to enforce this order.
Indeed, divorce comes with many life changes and legal requirements and rules, but of all of them, alimony is one of the most important. You should maintain records of all the payments and the details like the date of payment and amount. This applies to both the payer and receiver to avoid legal hassles in the future. Alimony is in place for a good reason. The court is fair with its decisions, so there’s not much you need to worry about, as a payer or a receiver. This duty to pay spousal maintenance after divorce has long been a part of divorce law. We can confidently say that it’s here to stay in the foreseeable future too. So, it’s important that everyone understands what it entails.