Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Is Alimony?

Filing for divorce at the Lake of the Ozarks marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one filled with possibilities and unknowns. Almost every aspect of the couple's lives will change, but finances are a factor that weigh particularly heavy on the minds of many divorcing couples. This is especially true for couples in which one individual makes significantly more money than the other or in which one individual stays at home with the children, not bringing in any income whatsoever. In these situations, alimony may be awarded to help offset the financial discrepancies.


Alimony - A Quick Overview

Alimony is designed to help divorced individuals who may not earn enough income to support themselves in the manner they were accustomed to during the marriage. Sometimes called "spousal support" or "maintenance," alimony is a monthly payment the higher-earning spouse is ordered to pay the lower-earning spouse. The Courts recognize that in many situations, one spouse will choose to work fewer hours (or forego a career altogether) in order to care for the couple's children. Alimony is designed to help ease the burden that this time away from work may have caused by the time the individual is ready to reenter the workforce. 

As discussed, alimony is typically awarded when one spouse earns a significantly higher income than the other. It generally is not awarded when both spouses earn relatively equal income or when the marriage has only lasted for a short time. Alimony is separate from child support; a parent may be awarded child support and still be eligible to receive alimony on top of it, depending on his/her situation.

How Alimony Is Determined

The amount awarded for alimony will vary depending on the state the couple resides in and several different factors relating to the individual spouses and their marriage as a whole. Here are a few examples of the types of factors that may be considered:
  • Each spouse's earning capacity
  • The financial resources available to the dependent spouse
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Each spouse's behavior during the marriage
  • The amount of time that will be required for the dependent spouse to obtain the education and/or training required to reenter the workforce
  • The debts and assets of each spouse
  • The standard of living that was maintained during the marriage
  • The emotional and physical condition of the spouse asking for support, as well as the other spouse's ability to provide the support

How Long Alimony Orders Last

Like child support orders, most alimony orders have a specific expiration date. This expiration date can vary drastically from case to case, depending on the specific factors affecting each individual divorce. Here are a few examples of the types of expiration dates that may be set:
  • When the spouse receiving the support gets remarried
  • If the judge determines that the supported spouse has not made an adequate effort to become more self-sufficient
  • The children no longer require a stay-at-home parent
  • The judge decides to modify the alimony order based on an external significant event (such as retirement)
  • When one of the spouses passes away
  • The judge has set a specific date for the alimony order to expire.

Contact O'Donnell Law Center With Your Questions About Alimony

If you would like to learn more about alimony or if you are interested to learn how it may affect your case, don't hesitate to reach out to our law firm in Osage Beach, MOVisit our website or give us a call at (573) 552-0317 to learn more.

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Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC

1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

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