How Does Alimony Work
Usually, alimony payments are periodic, with a certain amount typically paid every month. Sometimes, a judge will order a spouse to pay a lump sum to the other spouse for maintenance, either in cash or in a property transfer .
Lump-sum alimony awards can’t be undone. But you may usually ask the court to change or end periodic alimony payments, unless the original court order specifically said that they are “nonmodifiable.” However, you’ll have to convince the judge that modifying or ending maintenance is justified because you or your spouse has had a significant change in circumstances, like a paying spouse’s retirement or a supported spouse’s new high-paying job.
Some circumstances automatically end periodic alimony, such as when the supported spouse remarries or either spouse dies. Depending on the law in your state, some other circumstanceslike when the supported spouse has started living with a partnermay either end alimony or justify reducing the payments when they significantly affect the recipient’s need for support.
If there wasn’t a request for alimony during the divorce, and it wasn’t addressed in the final divorce judgment, neither spouse may go back later and ask the court for spousal support.
How California Family Courts Determine How Long Alimony Payments Should Last
The main factor a family court will consider when deciding alimony payments is the length of the marriage. California family courts generally consider marriages of 10 years or more to be marriages of long duration. However, the court will account for periods of separation during said marriages.
California alimony generally comes in the following forms:
- Temporary: Courts may order a spouse to pay this type of alimony to their other spouse during divorce proceedings or separations. Temporary alimony ends when/if permanent alimony is awarded.
- Permanent: This is the type of alimony one might pay after a divorce has been finalized. The spouse that receives this form of alimony payment will usually be the one with less financial stability or earning potential.
The word permanent is confusing because its extremely rare for courts to order someone to make alimony payments for the rest of their life.
Permanent alimony payments usually continue for up to half the length of a marriage for marriages lasting fewer than 10 years.
Determining the length of permanent alimony for marriages that lasts 10 or more years is more complicated. Courts must determine how long someone should receive alimony payments before they can support themselves financially.
Ultimately, theres no way to know precisely how long alimony payments will last in California. A divorce attorney can help you negotiate a fair alimony arrangement that considers your financial needs.
Illinois Spousal Support Calculations
If spousal maintenance is awarded in a divorce case, the guidelines provided in Illinois law will be used to determine the amount to be paid, as well as the duration that payments will last. To calculate alimony, 25 percent of the recipient’s net income is subtracted from 33 and one third percent of the payor’s net income. However, the sum of the recipient’s income and the maintenance payments is limited to 40 percent of the couple’s combined net income.
For an example of how maintenance calculations work, imagine that Mary earns an annual net income of $250,000, and James earns an annual net income of $80,000. 25% of James’ income would be subtracted from 33 1/3% of Mary’s income to make a total of $63,333.33. However, if this amount is added to James’ income, it makes a total of $143,333.33. 40% of James’ and Mary’s combined income is $132,000, so the maintenance James receives would actually be $52,000 per year.
Notably, the guidelines provided in Illinois law apply for couples with a combined gross annual income of less than $500,000. The amount of maintenance in high net worth divorce cases in which couples earn more than that total will be decided by a judge on a case-by-case basis. However, regardless of a couple’s net worth, it is essential to work with an attorney to determine what sources of income should be considered and what deductions may be taken in order to calculate each party’s net income, ensuring that spousal maintenance is calculated correctly.
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Can I Legally Avoid Paying Alimony
Normally, spouses can waive alimony payments by putting the agreement in writing in a prenuptial agreement. However, a paying spouse may look for ways to legally avoid paying alimony even without a prenup. A good place to start is looking at the state laws to find out whether your spouse has disqualified themselves for alimony in any way. For instance, you could avoid paying alimony if you prove your spouses infidelity.
Reducing Your Income
But are there legal ways of dodging alimony payments after a court has issued the order? You could try changing up your lifestyle. Remember, a court may modify or end alimony payment if you prove a significant change in your financial circumstances. If youre the paying spouse, you could downgrade by, say, getting a lower-paying job.
Yet, this tactic could be a fools errand. The court may determine that you willfully took up a lower-paying job. Under Georgia alimony laws, you may be ordered to continue making payments as if you were working your previous high-paying job.
Proving Your Ex-Spouse Does Not Need Alimony
Another way is to prove that your spouse doesnt need alimony. If you could prove that they are simply being vindictive and dont actually need spousal support, a judge could reject their request to get alimony.
Making Alimony Payments In Georgia
In most cases, alimony payments are periodic. This means that they are paid weekly or monthly and continue until the court orders payments to stop. Payment of spousal support may also be in the form of a one-time, lump-sum payment to the other spouse. Depending on the arrangement of spouses, payment of alimony may involve property division, where the receiving spouse usually gets a slightly larger share of the marital property.
Lump-sum alimony payments arent common, as most spouses may not have the funds to make a one-time payment . However, if a spouses circumstances allow for it, such payments can help them avoid ongoing payments.
For periodic alimony payments, the court is likely to issue an income deduction order. This order directs the employer of the paying spouse to deduct alimony from wages and channel the deductions to the family support registry.
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Contact The Law Offices Of Dorie A Rogers For Alimony Support
At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, we understand that alimony can be a challenging subject for many people. Thats why were here to help. Our attorneys have years of experience in family law and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about spousal support.
If youre looking for help avoiding alimony payments, or if you need assistance with an existing alimony order, contact us today to learn more and begin your case.
How To Avoid Paying Alimony In California
If you are considering divorce in California, it is important to understand the alimony laws and how they may impact you. Many people ask, How can I avoid paying alimony in California? This is a highly complex question, as many factors will determine whether you pay alimony and how much. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every situation is different, and the best way to avoid paying alimony will vary depending on your specific circumstances. However, by taking the time to understand the most common ways to avoid alimony payments, you can put yourself in a much better position to protect your finances.
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Types Of Alimony In Florida
Under Florida divorce law, there are five types of award alimony. A judge may award any combination of these types of alimony payments, which may be made periodically or in one lump sum. The types of awarding alimony are determined by how long the payments will last.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last In California
Puja Sachdev | August 31, 2021 | Alimony
If youre getting a divorce in San Diego, California, you or your spouse may be required to pay alimony. Courts typically order alimony payments to ensure that a spouse can maintain their lifestyle after a divorce.
Alimony may not last forever. Usually, the payments only continue for a certain length of time.
The length of alimony payments may depend on a wide range of factors. Courts review each case individually.
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Will I Be Awarded Alimony In Illinois
Spousal maintenance is meant to help a former partner gain independence who may otherwise struggle financially after the divorce. But its important to note that support is not awarded in all Illinois divorces. The factors that will be considered when determining if alimony is necessary include:
If You Have Children Calculate Maintenance In New York Using The Formula For Couples With Minor Children
Moving onto the formula. With minor children, the formula is similar, the percentages are just a little different.
With minor children, you take 25% of the lower-earning spouses net income. So here its $50,000. 25% of that is $12,500. Take 20% of the higher-earning spouses income. $100,000 times 20% equals $20,000. The difference is $7,500 . So you hold that number.
Then use the same Step 2 formula as above. You take the combined income of $150,000 times 40% equals $60,000. $60,000 minus the lower-earning spouses net income of $50,000 equals $10,000.
So in this example, the $7,500 is lower, so that is going to be the annual maintenance. $7,500 divided by 12 is $625 per month. That would be the monthly maintenance order in that case. Of course, the reason it is lower is because then you go on and calculate what the child support would be.
Alimony Without Filing Divorce
Under Florida Statute 61.09, a paying spouse may be required to pay alimony without getting divorced. Florida does not recognize legal separation therefore, alimony may still be necessary if a couple is separated. Unlike alimony in divorce cases, alimony under this statute acknowledges the continuation of the marriage, the continued right of a paying spouse to participate in the other spouses estate, and the possibility of a reconciliation. See Wood v. Wood.
Spouses have a legal duty to provide financial support to each other. Spousal support can be required even if the couple is separated and not yet divorced. Spouses are obligated to provide financial support approximate to that which has been established during the marriage. See Astor v. Astor.
To be eligible for a divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must be a resident of Florida for the six months preceding the filing of the divorce petition. However, there is no residency requirement for seeking durational alimony award under Florida Statute 61.09. See Wachsmuth v. Wachsmuth.
Further, there is no requirement that the couple lives apart before the court can order alimony. Moreover, there is no requirement that the party paying alimony be at fault for the separation. However, if both parties have not lived in Florida as a married couple, there may be issues regarding personal jurisdiction. If the court lacks personal jurisdiction, it will not compel a party to pay rehabilitative alimony.
What Is The Average Amount Of Alimony Here Are The Top 5 Factors
While a divorce may end all your marital obligations to your ex-spouse, it may not end all your financial obligations. Even in a divorce that doesn’t involve children, you may owe your ex alimony or spousal support — monthly payments designed to limit any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing income to a non- or lower-wage-earning spouse.
But determining how much a spouse will owe or receive in alimony isn’t always so straightforward. Here are five factors courts, attorneys, and soon-to-be exes can use to figure out the amount of alimony in a divorce.
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Utah Alimony Lawyer Free Consultation
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Enforcing An Alimony Award
If your ex isn’t paying court-ordered spousal support, you may go back to court to ask the judge to enforce the alimony orders. The same is true when you and your ex had an agreement on the issue that was made part of the final divorce judgment or another court order. Typically, you’ll file a “show cause” action , and the court will set a hearing to determine why your ex isn’t following the order and what the judge should do to enforce it.
Family law courts have various tools at their disposal to enforce alimony payments, and a deadbeat spouse could face fines and penalties for failing to follow an alimony order. A judge may also order a spouse to pay alimony retroactively to make up for any missed payments.
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Modification Of Alimony Awards
Unless the couple agrees otherwise, the court can modify an alimony order if there is a change in circumstances in the future. For example, a change in income, job status, or disability. The court will consider the changes to either spouse’s income, but only if the difference between the old and new income is at least 20%. , .)
Before Filing For Divorce Learn All About Alimony : What It Is How It Works And How Its Enforced
Alimony isn’t automatic and isn’t ordered in every divorce. But it isn’t exactly rare either. If you’re facing a divorce and are planning to request alimony, or you think your spouse might ask for it, you’ll want to understand what alimony is, how judges made decisions on the issue, when you can change or stop alimony payments, and how you and your spouse might reach an agreement on the issue rather than having a judge decide for you.
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What Is A Spouse’s Earning Capacity
As we’ve seen, states typically require judges to consider both spouses’ ability to earn. That means a judge won’t just look at current income, but what spouses could reasonably earn, given their education, training, experience, job skills, and the local demand for those skills.
When either spouse is voluntarily earning below their potential, the judge may “impute” income to that spouse. For example, say you were the high-earning spouse in your marriage, making $200,000 a year as a lawyer. But after you and your spouse separated, you quit your job to become a sculptor earning less than $30,000 a year. The judge might order you to pay an amount of alimony consistent with your ability to earn rather than your actual earnings.
However, if you had a valid reason to switch to a lower-paying jobfor instance, because work-related stress was causing medical and psychological harmyou might be able to provide evidence to convince a judge not to base the alimony amount on your old salary. But you can expect a fight from your spouse or ex.
The supported spouse’s current and future earning potential also comes into play when judges are setting the amount of alimony. As part of rehabilitative alimony, judges often order a vocational evaluation with an expert who will analyze how much that spouse can currently earn and what steps need to be taken in order to become self-supporting.
The Paradox Of Alimony For Men
The Supreme Court ruled that alimony is gender neutral in 1979. But, to some, women having to dole out spousal support still comes as a shock.
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When it comes to alimony, the law is blind to gender. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander, thats how family law works, said Laura Wasser, the California lawyer representing the singer Kelly Clarkson in her high-profile divorce.
Even though the Supreme Court ruled that alimony is gender neutral in 1979, Ms. Wasser said that women have still been surprised to find themselves doling out spousal support. What amazes me is that many bright and sophisticated women dont realize they will have to pay, said Ms. Wasser, declining to comment directly on Ms. Clarksons case.
Ms. Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock, an entertainment agent, split in 2020 after seven years of marriage. Despite a prenuptial agreement recently upheld in a Los Angeles court, Mr. Blackstock has been awarded temporary monthly spousal support of nearly $150,000, half of his initial ask.
In addition to the monthly spousal support paid by Ms. Clarkson, Mr. Blackstock also receives child support of around $45,000 per month, despite Ms. Clarkson having been awarded primary physical custody of their two children.
Another reason that men being awarded alimony can come as a surprise is because it doesnt happen that often.
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