Spousal Support And Alimony: Common Myths And Misconceptions


According to the American Psychological Association, 90 percent of Americans marry at least once before the age of 50. Of these couples, approximately 40 to 50 percent later get divorced. When a couple gets divorced, one of the former spouses could be entitled to alimony or spousal support. Alimony is typically ordered when one spouse is financially dependent upon the other, and after the divorce, they will need help to retain their current quality of life.

Here are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions associated with alimony.

Alimony Is the Right of Every Divorced Spouse

When two spouses end their marriage, the person who made less money in the relationship or was the primary caregiver of the kids might assume they are automatically provided alimony. One spouse must petition the court to receive alimony. The judge takes several factors into consideration when determining if either spouse is entitled to alimony, including:

  • Both spouses' ability to support themselves and their children
  • The quality and standard of life that occurred during the marriage
  • Both spouses' job experience and training
  • The length of time the spouses were married
  • The physical health of either spouse

The length of time one spouse receives alimony is another consideration as well. For example, temporary alimony is awarded for the length of the divorce and ends once a divorce agreement is reached. Permanent alimony is often awarded if one spouse is handicapped or was the primary child's caregiver and does not have the ability to find meaningful employment. Permanent alimony often ends when the spouse dies or remarries.

Alimony Isn't Considered Taxable Income

Depending on where you live, the rules regarding alimony will differ. However, in most states, alimony payments are taxable income. This means that the recipient must pay a portion of their alimony in taxes each year. Conversely, the spouse paying out alimony can often deduct their payments on their taxes. Additionally, the court will continue to monitor the alimony agreement and makes adjustments as needed.

For example, if the recipient can work and is refusing to find employment because they are receiving enough alimony to support their lifestyle, the judge may alter the original alimony agreement in favor of the payor. In many cases, alimony is intended to help the recipient transition back into the job world.

You Will Have to Fight for Alimony

Several television shows and movies have depicted divorces in a negative way, especially when it comes to two spouses fighting over alimony. In many cases, the spouse who earns more money will agree to pay alimony because their spouse is unable to work, or they will primarily care for the kids, once the divorce is finalized.

If an alimony agreement cannot be reached between the spouses and their attorneys, the court will intervene and take the above-mentioned factor into consideration before determining if spousal support is warranted. Chances are, you will not need to participate in a lengthy, expensive court battle and it is prudent for both spouses to work out an alimony agreement separate from the court.

You Can Ask for Alimony After the Divorce Is Finalized

After a long, difficult divorce you're finally ready to move on. Unfortunately, you've waited until now to ask for spousal support. A spouse can ask for alimony any time during the divorce proceedings, including at the last minute before the paperwork is signed. However, once the divorce is finalized by the court, either spouse cannot seek spousal support.

Alimony is a common aspect of divorce and unfortunately, there are several myths and misconceptions associated with it. If you have any further questions, contact your divorce lawyer for more assistance.


25 January 2019

divorce - tips for fathers fighting for custody

Divorce is never an easy situation. For fathers, it can be even more stressful because it is more difficult to obtain custody of the kids. Having gone through a divorce myself, I learned quite a bit about the additional steps that fathers should go through to ensure that they have a fair chance at gaining custody of the kids. My site is filled with the tips and advice that I received from my lawyer and other fathers that have gone through the same thing. Hopefully, what you learn on my site will help you achieve the outcome that you hope for.