Any spouse going through divorce can be awarded alimony to be paid by a formal spouse by the court. Alimony may also be an option decided upon by the divorcing couple. Alimony is intended to limit the financial effects a spouse may incur due to the divorce and provides a flow of income to spouses who have little or no income. Divorce attorneys are familiar with laws that apply to alimony and can help determine if it is a possible option during the divorce. Anyone in a situation where they cannot take care of themselves immediately should consult with a divorce lawyer to see if this kind of assistance can be temporarily given to them by the court.
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These types of payments are not mandated by specific laws and the courts have a large amount of discretion when it comes to making the decision of awarding alimony and the amount of the payments. Many states base their alimony statutes on the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act.
This act suggests the courts base their decision on certain factors. The age, health, and financial situation of the former spouse are considered. Judges look at the length of time the spouse would need to be able to take care of themselves. Sometimes the standard of living throughout the marriage and the length of the marriage are factors. The paying spouse must be able to still support their needs while supporting their former spouse.
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Because these factors vary for every couple, it is hard to have a dependable estimate on what alimony rewards may be. Payments are not regulated by enforcement laws like child support. This makes it easy for the paying spouse to skip payments without any punishment for doing so. A spouse who is supposed to be receiving alimony payments can in some states go to court and have a judgment of contempt put in place forcing the other party to pay or be punished by the court.
Any time alimony is awarded, it is considered a rehabilitative measure. The amount of time a spouse can receive payments depends upon the amount of reasonable time it will take them to change their current situation and take care of themselves again. In some instances, the divorce decree will not state an end date for alimony payments. The payments must then be given until the court decides to stop them. Termination of payments happens when the former spouse remarries, on a date specified by the court, or upon death of the payer. Payment may be continued after death when the spouse cannot be reasonably employed due to age or a health condition. These payments then come out of the payer’s estate or life insurance money.