During the divorce and property division process, the conversation may turn to alimony. Also called spousal support or maintenance, this is money that one spouse is required to pay to another following divorce. The goal is to help maintain the same standard of living experienced by both spouses during the marriage.  Do I get alimony is one of the most asked questions to divorce lawyers. Each divorcing spouse can retain a lawyer for marital property and arrange alimony or the issue can be taken to court for a judge to decide.

Four-Types of Alimony

There are four types of alimony: lump sum, temporary, rehabilitative, and permanent. Lump sum involves paying the entire amount in one payment. Temporary alimony provides financial assistance during the period immediately following the divorce so one party can get back on track financially. It is usually awarded when the divorcing spouses earn similar incomes. Rehabilitative alimony is designed for a spouse who will eventually be self-supporting after obtaining training or education. Only an attorney can properly asses if you are able to get alimony.

If the marriage lasted for a long time, permanent alimony may be awarded. The payments last until the recipient remarries or dies. Entitlement to any of the four types is determined by a complex formula based on several factors. A lawyer for marital property will explain the details to clients and provide an idea of the amount of alimony to expect. Alimony is now being awarded in fewer cases and in shorter durations so having legal representation can increase the chance of receiving it.

Some states have instituted laws that limit the time period for alimony payments. The alimony termination date is often included in the judgment or marital settlement agreement when divorce proceedings are finalized. A divorcing couple should contact a lawyer to learn about the alimony laws in their state.

The general rule is that the longer the marriage lasted and the larger the difference in earning capabilities between the couple, the greater the chance there is for an alimony award. These two factors also determine the length of time that alimony must be paid. If one spouse suspects that the other is underreporting income to avoid paying alimony, a lawyer can help prove this.

Division of property pertains to more than just divvying assets like property and cars. Alimony is a financial determination that ensures an equal standard of living for each former spouse. Whether it is paid in a lump sum, temporarily, or for a lifetime, a lawyer for marital property can help a client receive alimony to which he or she is entitled.

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