Fast Facts: Alimony

Aug 8, 2012 by

What is Alimony?

Alimony is money that is traditionally paid to the lower income spouse to help out with their cost of living. It is also referred to as Spousal Support, but is not to be confused with Child Support.

Can I Receive Alimony?

The rules vary from state to state but in the end it’s the judge that will decide if and how much you’ll get. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when determining alimony payments. These include ability to earn a living, age, health of the parties, length of the marriage and conduct.

Does “Fault” Effect the Payment of Alimony?

There was a time when alimony was automatically rewarded to a wife if the husband was found to be unfaithful but those days are nearly gone. Today, most states practice No Fault divorces, so the reason for the divorce doesn’t come into play when determining the amount of alimony.

Can a Husband Receive Alimony from His Wife?

In the past, it was almost always men who had to write the alimony checks, so much so that you’ll see it as a popular theme in many old sitcoms. These days, with more equality in the workplace, sex shouldn’t determine who pays and to whom. If the wife is making more money than the husband, she could be the one writing the checks in the future.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Alimony.

The receiving party must pay taxes on alimony. The party who writes the check can take the amount as a deduction. You’ll want to check with your lawyer on the local tax laws for the finer details.

Will I Have to Pay Alimony Forever?

Probably not. The judge will set either a finite length of time or a set of circumstances under which you will stop paying. If a spouse gets remarried or gets a better paying job, the judge will likely end the payments. Alimony is not punishment, it’s money to help the less fortunate spouse maintain their standard of living.

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