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Difference Between Alimony And Spousal Support

Why Is There A Difference In Wording Between Alimony And Spousal Support

Spousal Support/APL/Alimony – Differences

California was the first to start using spousal support as a term in non-confrontational language. It has since spread to other parts of the country. Spousal support has more positive connotations and is more common in no-fault divorces and marriage dissolutions. Alimony is still the more popular used term, but the use of the term spousal support grows daily.

The introduction of the no-fault divorce in 1970 changed conversations surrounding divorce dramatically, giving room for spousal support to become a term in the first place. Couples no longer had to prove adultery or abuse in order to end their marriages. No-fault divorces and marriage dissolutions are cases where the term spousal support is more commonly used.

Temporary Support While The Divorce Is Pending

You and your spouse don’t need to wait until everything in your divorce is settled to work out spousal support arrangements. In fact, the support issue may be most important immediately after you separate, to support the lower-earning spouse while your divorce is in process.

It’s always a good idea to make a written agreement about temporary support. If you can’t agree on a temporary support amount, then you’ll probably spend some time in court arguing over it. If you have a right to support, it starts as soon as you separate, so get yourself to court right away.

Do You Need To Pay Spousal Maintenance

Divorce is a difficult time in your life. As the legal terms of ones marriage comes to an end, it isnt uncommon for divorcees to not want to pay for spousal support for their ex-spouse. Thats why you should consider the services of a reputable alimony attorney who can help you get a better insight into the process. Alimony and child custody are highly contested issues in the court of law.

Also Check: Do You Pay Taxes On Alimony

What Is The Difference Between Spousal Support And Alimony

There is no difference between spousal support and alimony. Both terms refer to the financial support paid from one spouse to the other spouse after a divorce.

Alimony is an older, traditional term used for support payments. However, some think that alimony refers to instances when a man supports a woman after divorce.

Spousal support is an updated term that is gender-neutral. In Georgia, most courts use the term spousal support instead of alimony. Spousal support is not based on gender or fault. However, the Georgia code refers to financial support following a divorce as alimony.

Temporary Or Pendente Lite Spousal Support:

Alimony vs. Spousal Support: What

It can often take a year or more between a divorce suit being filed and the divorce being finalizedwhether by a settlement agreement or a court determination. Pendente lite support is what may be paid in the months between the filing of a Complaint for Divorce and the entry of a Final Order of Divorce. Sometimes the parties agree on the amount, or they may appear in court in order for a judge to determine the temporary amount to be paid.

For families with gross monthly income under $10,000, there is a statutory guideline calculation for the determination of temporary spousal support. If you and your spouse have minor children, the presumptive amount is equal to 26% of the paying spouses monthly gross income, minus 58% of the receiving spouses monthly gross income. If you and your spouse do not have any minor children, then the presumptive amount is equal to 27% of the paying spouses monthly gross income, minus 50% of the recipient spouses monthly gross income.

For families with gross monthly income over $10,000, the determination is made based on the needs of the recipient spouse balanced against the ability of the other spouse to pay. However, when evaluating what may be a fair amount to agree on in lieu of seeking court intervention, most attorneys will use the presumptive calculation as a starting point in an effort to reach an efficient resolution.

Read Also: How Much Is Alimony In Texas

How Do I Get Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance In Texas

Court ordered spousal maintenance is the kind a family judge can order a spouse to pay involuntarily. But just because the law provides for it does not mean it is easy to get, that it will be a large amount of money, or it will last forever. To the contrary, the eligibility requirements for court ordered spousal maintenance are high, the amount and duration are restricted, and it can be changed or eliminated later. There is no “palimony” in Texas, meaning a court cannot require someone to pay spousal support if there was no ceremonial or common law marriage.

An ideal in Texas is it is in everyones best interests for as many people in Texas as possible to be employed. The theory is court ordered spousal maintenance can be a financial bridge between divorce and self-sufficiency. This is why it is often referred to as “rehabiliative” support. However, there is a prevailing view as well that spousal support creates a disincentive for a divorcee to return to gainful employment. That is one of the reasons the Texas legislature makes it tough for a former spouse in Texas to get court ordered spousal maintenance. However, Texas also recognizes that people need some help after divorce if they have been out of the work force, lack education, became disabled during marriage, must care for a disabled child and cannot work, or have experienced family violence.

After proving that, the spouse must also prove at least one of the following:

  • homemaker contributions
  • family violence.
  • How To Distinguish Between Alimony And Child Support In Texas

    Alimony, known as spousal maintenance in Texas, is a form of payment made from one spouse to another spouse designed to support the receiving spouse directly.

    Comparatively, child support is a scheduled payment made from one parent to another parent that is specifically designated to support the care and upbringing of the child through the marriage.

    Lets examine the differences between spousal maintenance and child support more closely.

    Read Also: Alimony In Florida How Many Years

    New Alimony And Spousal Support Processes

    Many states, including California, are currently trying to restrict alimony and spousal support to cases where one spouse has a severely lower income. Alimony and spousal support may set them up for more long-term financial stability . This is because states recognize that it can be hard to form two households out of one, and that both partners will be struggling financially.

    Find Support From An Expert Divorce Attorney


    Every divorce case is different. I know it can seem overwhelming trying to learn how Texas law applies to your unique circumstances. Thats why I am here to help answer your questions and provide you with expert legal support.

    My law practice focuses exclusively on family law so that I can provide the highest level of legal support for your case. I can help you better understand the difference between alimony and child support while also providing the representation you need in family court.

    I support both sides of the coin, whether you expect to receive payments or make payments following the divorce. I can help you receive all that you are entitled to or help minimize your payment obligations to the other spouse.

    If you live in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, or Harris County, then reach out to me today to get started. I will serve as a fierce advocate helping you arrive at the best possible financial situation.

    to discuss your divorce case. I am here to help!

    Recommended Reading: Where Do I File For Divorce In Houston Texas

    Whats The Difference Between Alimony Vs Spousal Support

    Hossein Berenji, Nov 02, 2020

    When a couple or divorces, financial support is a common concern. Transitioning from a two-income household to a one-income household can create a financial hardship. For spouses who worked in the home, they might not have the skills, education, or experience to find a job that supports them or maintains their current standard of living.

    Spousal support or alimony is a payment from one spouse to another spouse. It is intended to assist a spouse who did not work during the marriage or earns much less than the other spouse in providing for their financial needs after the divorce.

    How Long Do Alimony Payments Last In Georgia

    There are four basic types of spousal support granted by judges in Georgia. Temporary alimony is generally granted until a divorce is finalized.

    Upon granting the divorce, a judge may grant permanent, periodic, or lump sum alimony. Periodic alimony is one of the most common types of spousal support in Georgia. The judge sets a specific period of time for the alimony payments. If the spouse remarries before the end of the term, the alimony payments cease.

    Don’t Miss: Move Out Of State To Avoid Alimony

    Types Of Spousal Support

    Spousal support falls into two broad categories: short-term support and long-term or permanent support. “Reimbursement” support is a kind of long-term support. A spouse may also get temporary support before the divorce is final.

    How long one ex-spouse must help support the other is as much in the judge’s discretion as is the amount of support. Some judges start with the assumption that support should last half as long as the marriage did, and then work up or down from there by looking at certain factors. Most states don’t have guidelines for the duration of support, but some dofor example, in Texas and Indiana, payments are limited to three years except in special circumstances. In Utah, support can’t last any longer than the marriage did. And in some states the marriage must have lasted at least ten years for a court to order support at all. How long support lasts depends on the nature of the support.

    It’s possible that a former spouse might receive more than one kind of support at the same time. If a spouse is getting more than one kind of support, say rehabilitative and short-term, then when the spouse is employed again, the rehabilitative support would end. The short-term support would continue until its termination date.

    A Quick History Of Spousal Support

    What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?

    For those students of Latin, alimony comes from the word alere, which means to nourish. And that is pretty appropriate, given that this system of support was originally meant to provide for a spouse after a separation or divorce: to keep food on the table when the households breadwinner left the home. Today, alimony and spousal support is often used interchangeably to refer to our modern payment system where an ex-spouse provides regular payments to their previous partner. For example, the California tax code still refers to alimony while the family court system has adopted spousal support.

    In the legal world, you will primarily hear us use the word spousal supportit is in line with the legal code and it is gender neutral, which is appropriate since the higher-income-earner, regardless of gender, typically pays spousal support. Think of spousal support as the mechanism to limit economic disparity between the parties to a divorce. It is meant to provide predictable income to the unemployed or lower-wage-earning partner and help maintain the status quo of the marriage when the divorce is finalized. Typically, spousal support refers to a monthly amount paid for a certain amount of time, but other options, including a lump-sum buyout, exist.

    As we will see, in California, spousal support can be temporary or permanent .

    Don’t Miss: How Long Does Alimony Last In Florida

    Difference Between Spousal Support Alimony And Palimony

    With the change in time, the concept of marriage evolved, and live-in relationships are emerging in society. Couples prefer to cohabit rather than marry, which is referred to as a live-in relationship. During the marriage, a couple shares their financial responsibilities, which get disturbed if the couple wishes to divorce each other. As a result, the court awards alimony, which is the financial support given by a financially strong spouse to a financially weaker spouse to maintain the same standard of living as he or she had during the marriage. A couple in live-in relationships also shares their financial responsibilities, and separation affects them also. For such a couple, the court decided to award palimony to the financially weaker partner. Palimony is a legal term for alimony paid to unmarried spouses when they separate.

    What Is Spousal Support

    Spousal support is the amount of money paid by husband or wife to their previous spouses following a divorce. The amount is paid monthly and continues for the specified period.

    The period can extend to years or the remaining life of the defined parties.

    For payments to be satisfied and considered spousal support, the following requirements are to be met. The payment has to be either cash or check. Assets and depts.

    The payment will not be considered spousal support.

    The payment has to be remitted for in a divorce or written agreement. Any payment made before the divorce or agreement is not considered. And if one spouse married or dies, the payment stops.

    Don’t Miss: Questions To Ask Before Divorce

    Is Child Support Taxable In California

    The taxation of a child support and/or spousal support order is a significant issue many couples have during and after their divorce cases. Knowing how an order might affect you come tax time can keep you on the right side of the law with the Internal Revenue Service. You will not have to include child support you receive from your spouse as income for tax purposes. Child support orders are tax neutral under federal tax laws. Your spouse will also be unable to deduct child support payments on his or her taxes.

    If a judge issued a spousal support order, however, this amount could be taxable. The paying spouse will be able to deduct spousal support payments on his or her taxes if a judge issued the order on or before December 31, 2018. The party receiving the spousal support will have to pay taxes on the award on the state and federal levels. If issued after December 31, 2018, however, the rules change. An updated federal tax law makes spousal support nontaxable. Parties with spousal support awards issued in 2019 or later may not deduct these awards on their taxes, nor will recipients have to pay taxes on them as income. State spousal support taxation, however, remains the same until the state decides to change it.

    Do I Have To Pay Spousal Support

    What is Alimony (AKA Spousal Maintenance / Spousal Support)?

    If a judge mandates spousal support, you must pay for it.

    However, spousal support doesnt come with same legal teeth as child support. Parents who fail to pay court-ordered child support may see their wages garnished or experience other forms of legal recourse.

    The only way to force your ex to pay alimony is by California alimony holding them in contempt of court.

    Recommended Reading: How Long Do You Get Alimony

    What Is The Average Spousal Support Payment

    The guideline states that the paying spouse’s support be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. If child support is an issue, spousal support is calculated after child support is calculated.

    Will I have to pay my husband alimony if we divorce?

    If you’re facing a divorce, you’ll have to face reality: Alimony paymentsalso known in some states as “spousal support” or “maintenance”are alive and well in the American divorce system. On the other hand, alimony generally isn’t awarded for short marriages or where you and your spouse earn close to the same amount.

    Which Party Generally Has To Pay Alimony Or Spousal Support In A Divorce

    Spousal support or alimony is determined by one partys need for support and the other partys ability to pay support. It is also determined by other factors that are described in thestatute, including the length of marriage, and the contributions that each party has made to the marriage. Spousal support will only be awarded or agreed to when one party has the ability topay support and the other party needs the support. This situation will involve a spouse who has a substantially higher income than the other spouse, and is therefore able to help supportthem.

    Read Also: How Does Alimony Work In Texas

    What Is The Difference Between Alimony And Post

    If you are involved in a separation or divorce, you may have questions about receiving post-separation support or alimony. While these two forms of spousal support share some similarities, youll want to understand the differences between them too.

    What Is Post-Separation Support?

    Post-separation support is the payment of spousal support when the separation period begins but before the court orders payment of alimony. Post-separation support requires a supporting spouse to pay a dependent spouse regular amounts of money determined by the court. Typically, post-separation support payments end when alimony is awarded or denied, or the court sets a date by which the support must be fully paid up.

    To receive or have to pay post-separation support, the following requirements must be met:

    • The spouses were legally married
    • The spouse seeking support is the dependent spouse
    • The dependent spouse cant meet their financial needs
    • The spouse from whom support is sought is the supporting spouse
    • The supporting spouse can afford to pay support

    What Is Alimony?

    At some point during the divorce proceedings, the court may make an order awarding or denying alimony. Alimony is spousal support that continues after the divorce is final. The Court will consider all relevant factors in making a determination of the amount and duration of alimony.

    To receive or have to pay alimony, the following requirements must be met:

    Factors Affecting Alimony and Post-Separation Support Awards

    Why Hiring A Lawyer Can Help You With Spousal Support

    Permanent VS. Temporary Spousal Support: Whatâs The Difference ...

    In situations where it can be demonstrated that both parties have sufficient income or separate property to support themselves, most courts will not issue a spousal support order. In addition, child custody and domestic violence issues can have a significant impact on spousal support decisions.

    Having an experienced attorney on your side means someone will be there to advocate on your behalf and factually present how you will benefit from necessary spousal support. They can present your current income situation, a history of financial dependence on a partner, and plans for the future. Alternatively, they can advocate for why you shouldnt owe alimony.

    Some lawyers also provide access to inside and outside resources that can help strengthen your spousal support case.

    Read Also: Can You Receive Disability And Alimony At The Same Time

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