There are a number of factors that go into a family court judge’s decision to award alimony or deny it. Whether a spouse is entitled to alimony depends on their financial situation during the marriage, and whether or not they need support.
The main reason spousal support is awarded is to help an ex-spouse maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage and avoid the economic devastation caused by a divorce. In a similar way, child support payments may be ordered to limit the economic impact of a divorce on a child and protect their future.
Alimony is a type of spousal support that’s awarded in cases where one spouse has a lower income than the other. In many states, the court has a variety of guidelines and procedures for deciding how much to pay and when.
It is critical to have an experienced Dade County family attorneys represent you throughout the divorce process, so that you can receive the best results possible. If you are unsure of your legal rights or are considering filing for divorce, contact an experienced New York family law attorney today to schedule your consultation.
Most alimony awards are for no more than half the length of the marriage. Generally, this time frame will be set by the judge based on the facts of the case and the judge’s evaluation of each party’s circumstances.
Some courts use a longer-term time frame, for example 10 years or more. This is called “rehabilitative” alimony. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to give the recipient spouse a chance to become self-supporting or receive additional training in a job skills they might need if they were to return to work.
A person’s health can play a major role in their ability to work and live independently, especially if they have a disability or chronic medical condition. If there is a material change in a person’s health, a judge may order them to make a modification to their alimony agreement.
Often, this is done through negotiations with the paying spouse, but it can also be accomplished by taking the case to trial. But this is a risky strategy because going to trial requires a lot of money and time.
If a supported spouse has an inflated taxable income, for instance, they may be able to reduce their alimony payment through a review of their tax returns. Alternatively, they could try to convince the court to modify or even end their maintenance payment if there has been a substantial change in their income.
However, there are times when alimony payments will not be modified, regardless of a change in circumstances. In some states, alimony is automatically terminated by the court if the recipient spouse remarries, or if they have children from a previous marriage.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. The most common of these is when the court finds that the recipient spouse has a history of domestic violence or other misconduct in the relationship.
As a general rule, however, marital fault or misconduct by one or both spouses is irrelevant to the question of whether alimony should be awarded. In these situations, the spouses must show a sufficient need for alimony in order to be awarded it.