How Can I Fight Alimony or Maintenance?

Fight AlimonyWhen going through a divorce, many couples encounter the topic of alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance. Many people believe it is not possible to fight alimony awards – this is untrue. Alimony is a payment from one spouse to the other, negotiated or imposed by a court, when one spouse is unfairly financially affected by the divorce. Alimony may be paid in a lump sum or via monthly installments for a temporary or open-ended period. Spouses who do not agree to the decision often seek assistance from a lawyer for marital property. Alimony is a contentious issue and one that should be discussed with an expert who is willing to provide you with a free consultation!

Can I Fight Alimony in a Divorce?

Not every divorce needs to involve alimony. Alimony is usually awarded only when one spouse cannot meet his or her living expenses currently or in the future. If the other spouse can afford to make up for the shortfall, alimony may be granted. This spousal support could be temporary, lasting only until the other spouse raises children or gets back into the job market. If disability or age prevents a spouse from ever becoming self-supporting, alimony may be permanent. It is possible to fight alimony in court but it takes a substantial effort.

How Does Alimony Affect Taxes?

Payments may be tax-deductible for payers. However, a tax deduction may not be enough to make this payment acceptable to a paying spouse. Several factors are considered when determining the amount of alimony and courts have discretionary power when making this decision. If an alimony award seems unfair to the spouse who must pay it, its advisable to make an appointment with an expert divorce attorney to go over the justifications for the seemingly unfair alimony award. You can fight alimony and you can win!

Absent a legally enforceable prenuptial or post-marital agreement that specifies an amount of spousal support, courts make alimony decisions according to state law. The standard of living during the marriage and the time the prospective alimony recipient requires to become self-sufficient are two factors considered. If the receiving spouse claims a higher standard of living than actually existed or says it will take longer to become self-sufficient than it really will, the court may award alimony that the paying spouse deems excessive. This is the most common way that a spouse can fight alimony – when another spouse lies about their married standard of living.

When a spouse is required to pay alimony that he or she believes is unfair, an attorney can request reconsideration by the court. This will most likely result in not only an individual deciding to fight alimony, but fighting many other financial decisions as well. Many states are beginning to end awards of permanent alimony for long marriages. A comprehensive case that explains why the payment is excessive, supported by documentation, must be prepared and presented to the judge. After a thorough review of the facts, the judge will either reinforce the original decision or issue a new order adjusting the alimony payment.

Finances can make an otherwise amicable divorce a contentious situation. A lawyer skilled in dealing with marital property can help a client fight alimony that may appear to be an unfair award to the receiving spouse. The final decision should consider the rights of both parties and represent a fair and affordable payment and retaining a good lawyer increases the chance of this outcome. Only an expert divorce attorney can let you know if your divorce case should even deal with alimony to begin with. Speaking with an expert is easy – and you should get started right away!

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About the Author

Nicholas Baker is a practicing family law attorney with over a decade of experience handling divorce, child custody, child support, and domestic violence matters in the courtroom. Attorney Nicholas Baker believes in providing family law information for individuals so that they can make an informed decision about their own family law matter.

  1. Ashley Osorio Reply

    I have physical custody of our 3 children. He pays no child support and is now seeking spousal support because he feels he is unable to work and unemployment ran out.

  2. Donald Shugart Reply

    I have been paying for alimony for over five years. The marriage lasted five years and I have been ordered to pay for ten years. I find this to be excessive and she is able to work and is educated. Am I right to think this seems out of the norm as far as duration of payments ordered?

  3. Ginny Moore Reply

    Husband is seeking a large maintenance pmt. in wisconsin. Husband has not worked last 12 years of 18 year marriage, he has chosen not to look for work and is fully capable. Wife has been fully employed and asked him to get a job or at least look, he hasn’t and wife has had enough and is ending the marriage,is he entitled?

    • Nicholas Baker Reply

      It is possible that he may be entitled to some type of temporary or rehabilitative maintenance, depending on his earning capacity, her salary, and both of their ages. In most instances, this type of situation calls for a modest maintenance payment over a short amount of time, like a year, depending on the age of the husband. Contact our team of experienced family law attorneys for a free divorce consultation right away.

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