A divorce can have unequal economic impact on the two parties involved and alimony addresses this. Sometimes called spousal support, alimony is financial support that one party provides to the other following divorce. To qualify as a recipient, an individual must meet criteria that include having lower income than the other party does. State courts have much leeway when determining alimony, so a petitioning spouse should be prepared to present a strong case.
The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act is the guideline for many state alimony statutes. It recommends basing alimony awards on several factors, including marriage duration, marital standard of living, and the physical, financial, and emotional conditions of each party. An individual trying to get alimony in divorce should be prepared to discuss and provide supporting documentation.
Some individuals entitled to alimony can become self-supporting more quickly than others can and the court may consider this. As one example, a spouse who stayed at home to care for children for years may require training or additional education to acquire technology skills and other competencies required by employers. Courts also consider whether the party who earns more money will be able to support him or herself while paying the requested amount of alimony.
Each alimony and divorce case is unique, so there is no standard argument to make to get alimony in divorce. Retaining a family law attorney to prepare and present an alimony petition is the best way to ensure a favorable result. The lawyer will illustrate how alimony is essential for the client to support him or herself over the short-term or indefinitely.
Alimony is discretionary and based on the situations of both parties seeking divorce, so the amount and duration varies. Divorcing couples are permitted to reach agreement regarding alimony on their own but the court must finalize the arrangement to make it official. In most cases, alimony is a temporary, monthly award but some states permit lump-sum payments and all states could award permanent alimony if the recipient is elderly or has a physical or mental disability.
Issues involving finances can be complicated and emotions involved in divorce make it more difficult for a divorcing couple to understand or agree on alimony. A family law attorney provides the assistance that each party needs. Whether alimony arrangements can be worked out by the divorcing couple or must be made by a judge, this special type of lawyer is the best individual to have in your corner.