Alimony, also called maintenance, is one of several financial obligations that an individual may be required to pay to their former spouse after a divorce occurs. While this amount is almost always awarded to the wife in the divorce, it can stop under a few exceptional circumstances these days. You should think of “spousal maintenance” as a more temporary arrangement and may be received by either person when the marriage is terminated.
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is a term used to describe court-ordered payments awarded to a spouse or former spouse in a separation or divorce agreement. This support helps maintain a spouse’s standard of living after divorce until they can claim that standard without the payments.
Alimony is awarded to the lower-earning individual in marriages lasting at least ten years. The amount of alimony awarded — and the duration for which it is received — relies on several factors, including how long the marriage lasted and each partner’s current or potential incomes. Other factors that may impact who receives alimony and how much alimony is to be accepted include:
- Each spouse’s age, health, and physical capabilities
- The paying spouse’s ability to pay alimony
- Each spouse’s comparative financial resources and earning ability
- Any excessive spending, gambling, or destruction of property committed by either spouse
For the receiver of alimony, the payments are a form of taxable income. For the payer, they are a deductible expense. Alimony payments cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, and they are specifically meant to be used to meet the needs of the spouse or former spouse. Payments intended to the couple’s child or children’s needs are considered child support, not alimony.
There are only two situations outside of an agreement between spouses or express provisions in the divorce decree that can end the obligation to provide maintenance payments as ordered:
· Death of either party.
· Remarriage of the party receiving maintenance.
The law also provides the ability to suspend alimony and other types of support payments if the paying party suffers a mental or physical injury that prevents him or her from working for a period. In these circumstances, payments generally resume when the situation that caused the paying party to be unable to meet their financial obligations improves.
The obligation to pay maintenance automatically ends in cases of death or remarriage. However, the paying party will need to file a motion to terminate the support and provide proof to the remarriage court. Suppose the paying party continues to make his or her payments without being aware of the remarriage. In that case, they may be entitled to a refund of those payments made after the remarriage occurs.
Once payment has been terminated due to remarriage, payment cannot be reinstated, even if the receiving party’s remarriage ends in annulment or divorce. For further explanation on the types of support that may be ordered in divorce cases in Chandler, trust the attorneys at Shaffer Family Law for accurate and complete information. You can reach the office at (480) 470-3030 today!