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How To Get Out Of Alimony

You Can Ask To Change The Amount Of Temporary Support If Either Of Your Finances Change

How to Get Out of Paying Spousal Support.

If either of your financial situations changes, you can ask the judge to change the amount or end support. For example, if youre paying support and you lose your job or your spouse starts working, you can ask the judge to change support.

Its very important that you ask to change the temporary support amount right away. A judge can only change the amount as far back as the date you filed the papers asking for the change.

How To Get Out Of Spousal Support In Missouri

An alimony obligation is a regular reminder of a potentially unpleasant time, and you might find yourself researching how to get out of spousal support as soon as possible. Generally, the purpose of alimony is to avert the shock and inability to financially survive after the sudden loss of their spouses support. Therefore, courts must determine the following:

  • The spouse requesting maintenance has insufficient assets to meet reasonable needs.
  • The spouse has insufficient potential income to support themselves or cannot work outside of the home due to circumstances.

Courts often order maintenance payments to a spouse who makes less money, as they agreed that only one spouse would work outside the home while married. This may be due to a lack of education or experience or a decision to oversee the upkeep of the children and household primarily.

If you cant afford child support payments and permanent alimony just because you cant afford them, it is best to consult with a family law attorney. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney will help you go through the legal process and get the best possible outcome.

Strategy : Put An End Date On Alimony Payments

Alimony payments do not have to be a lifelong affair. You should strongly consider including a termination date in your divorce decree or agreement. This will remove the need to return to court at a later date, saving you from financial burden. The payments will simply terminate.

End dates for short marriages are usually one half the length of the union. It is much harder to predict the alimony termination date on a marriage that was lengthier, however. You should speak with an attorney to figure out what end date would be reasonable for your situation, given the duration and individual circumstances of your marriage.

Permanent alimony may still be ordered by the judge during your divorce finalization. It is usually issued when a spouse lacks the ability to support themselves due to extenuating circumstances, such as age or disability.

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Are Savings Included In A Couples Standard Of Living

The goal of maintaining the marital standard of living after divorce might not be a problem when the high-earning spouse has enough money to cover both spouses expenses, even at their former lifestyle. But what about couples who agreed it was important to put away a generous slice of their income into savings, retirement accounts, or other investments? Should judges consider that habit to be a part of their standard of livingand therefore include a savings component in the amount of alimony?

If youre fortunate enough to be facing this issue, the answer to that question will depend on where you live. Courts in different states have taken opposite views on the question. For instance:

  • California courts have long held that when a couples marital standard of living included savings and investments, judges may consider that as part of their ongoing expenses. As one court put it, the wife shouldnt be deprived of her accustomed lifestyle just because it involved the purchase of stocks and bonds rather than fur coats. .)
  • In contrast, the Florida Supreme Court has held that alimony may not include a savings component. Even when a couple had a history of frugality and savings, the court explained that the supported spouse would receive a share of those savings as part of the property division in the divorce, so the judge shouldnt include speculative post-dissolution savings in alimony. .)

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Strategy : Your Spouse May Not Get Alimony If They Dont Have Custody

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If your spouse is not awarded sole custody of the kids, they may not need money from alimony payments. Caring for children means that you have a significantly higher cost of living. Taking away the financial responsibility of providing care for your children may just lower the amount of money that is needed for your spouse to maintain their living standard. It may just give your spouse the chance to find their footing on their own in terms of their finances without the help of alimony payments.

Your ex will not need additional money, and you will decrease the amount of alimony you can provide by being the sole caregiver for your kids. You will face high costs like daycare, groceries, education, and clothing in paying for the children, which will cut into your expendable income. Some children have special needs, or ongoing expenses like diapers, doctor visits, or tutoring. The costs associated with raising a child or children may just eliminate your ability to pay alimony altogether.

In some cases, your spouse may even be given the order to make child support payments that can help take care of the costs associated with caring for and raising a young child. Be sure to carefully consider if you can be the sole caregiver for your children. You should never use this strategy as a means to avoid paying alimony or get child support monies from your spouse.

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How Much Spousal Support Will I Receive

It depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. First, the court treats temporary spousal support differently than permanent spousal support. So if you are requesting alimony during a case you are asking for temporary alimony and the court will balance your needs with your spouses ability to pay. The court will use a spousal support calculator to determine the proper amount of spousal support, although the court is not bound to follow exactly what the calculator dictates. The calculator attempts to portion net income equally among the parties. Permanent alimony is determined at the end of a case, and depends on the courts considerations of the factors set forth in Fam. Code 4320. For the bullet list of the factors, . The court is specifically not allowed to rely on the spousal support calculator to determine permanent spousal support.

Alimony Laws Vary By State

Spousal support laws vary among states. Most states have cut back on awarding permanent alimony in favor of temporary or rehabilitative spousal support to encourage the recipient to become self-sufficient. Recipients may also get temporary support if they are the principal caregiver of the couple’s children.

Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington are more likely to grant the recipient life-long support payments. Cases involving long marriages where one partner earned much less than the other are most likely to be awarded permanent alimony.

States may limit or deny spousal support if the recipient was the cause of the breakup. Georgia and North Carolina see adultery, abandonment, and marital misconduct as grounds for limiting or denying alimony. Most states, however, recognize no-fault divorce and do not consider who’s to blame when awarding spousal support.

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Alimony And Tax Issues

Alimony takes a bite out of the payor’s wallet but also provides them with a tax deduction. For the recipient, spousal support is considered income and is therefore taxed as such. When considering accepting a lump-sum alimony, beware that you could owe a significant amount of taxes on such a large payout. Consult a tax professional to help determine your best option.

How To Avoid Paying Alimony When The Supported Spouse Does Not Have A Need

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You may be wondering, what do you mean does not have a “need?” How does a spouse prove that?

There are many scenarios this can come up but one common one deals with independent wealth separate from marital funds.

If the alimony seeking spouse has an inheritance as one example or otherwise has access to money he or she can use to pay for his or her expenses, that spouse may have a lesser need for alimony.

This may be true even though the other spouse was the breadwinner during the marriage and has the ability to pay alimony.

In addition, third parties, such as parents as one example, may pay the alimony seeking spouse’s expenses. This payment, when recurring, triggers the question whether that spouse has a reduced need for alimony, even if that spouse is not employed.

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How Does The Court Handle Changes In Employment

The court can make assumptions about your income. For example, if youve been making alimony payments based on a $100,000-per-year income, but you go to the court and you say, I just quit my job to pursue my dream of becoming a famous fiction writer, so I cant pay alimony any longer, the court can tell you that you must continue paying the original amount in alimony. The court can also appoint an expert under Evidence Code, Section 730 to evaluate your earning power regardless of what your actual income. The bottom line is that you shouldnt quit your job just to stop paying alimony.

Judges Order Support Based On Needs And Ability To Pay

The judge decides the amount by looking at the:

  • Needs of spouse with less money

  • Ability to pay for spouse with more money

Theyll look at how much one spouse needs to meet their expenses and whether the other spouse makes enough to meet that need.

  • Example: need and ability to pay

    Needs: One spouse’s net income is $3,400 a month, but their expenses are $3,700. They need $300 to make ends meet.

    Ability to pay: The other spouse’s net income is $5,000 per month, but their expenses are $3,500. That spouse can afford to pay support.

    : Here, the judge might order the spouse who can afford to pay support to pay the spouse with more need $300 per month for temporary support.

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Strategy : Keep Tabs On Your Spouses Relationship

Some states will stop making alimony payments mandatory when the spouse who is getting them begins living with a new partner or significant other. This info may be written in the fine print on your divorce decree ask your attorney to go over the section about alimony payments with you for the best information.

A new marriage will usually allow the payments to come to an end, so keep track of what your ex-spouse is up to when it comes to their relationships. Keep tabs on them via social media and through friends. Make sure you are aware of when these life changes occur so you can get those alimony payments to cease.

Whats The Next Step To Understanding Alimony

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Fighting an award of alimony is nothing short of a knock down drag out battle, but when approached the proper way, can be possible. Understanding how alimony works in each particular state is the first step to deciding how the facts of your case will shake out. The next step is figuring out how much legal advice you actually need. We can help by connecting you at no cost to a local divorce attorneythat can provide you with a consultation!

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How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony In Texas

When youre trying to plan for your post-divorce finances, youre probably wondering whether you should expect to pay or receive alimony. Different states have their own guidelines for awarding spousal maintenance, which is sometimes bounded by the duration of the marriage. If youre getting divorced in the Lone Star State, youre probably wondering: how long do you have to be married to get alimony in Texas?

The reality is that Texas has some of the most strict guidelines surrounding court-ordered spousal maintenance. Texas law doesnt favor awarding maintenance and only does so if it is necessary to help the supported individual get to a point where they can be financially independent.

That being said, divorcing couples can come up with just about any alimony agreement they are both comfortable with and include it as a part of their divorce settlement. Its worth understanding, though, that the way that court-ordered spousal maintenance and contractual alimony can be enforced by the courts arent the same.

Lets take a look at how long you need to be married in Texas to receive alimony and everything else you should know about spousal support and maintenance.

What Are The Penalties For Nonpayment

If a spouse who is ordered to pay maintenance fails to pay it as ordered, there are several potential penalties. The spouse may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor for willfully violating the courts orders under A.R.S. 25-511.01. To prove the criminal case, a prosecutor will be required to show the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • There was a maintenance order issued by the court
  • The order directed the defendant to pay spousal maintenance
  • The defendant received notice of the order
  • The defendant was willful or intentional and
  • The defendant disobeyed the order.

If the ex-spouse is convicted of the class 1 misdemeanor offense, he or she can be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail under A.R.S. 13-707. In addition to potential criminal penalties, there are also potential civil remedies. A spouse who is owed maintenance that his or her former spouse has failed to pay may file a petition to enforce spousal maintenance under A.R.S. 25-508. Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. Since most spousal maintenance payments are made through the Support Payment Clearinghouse, it is possible to obtain records showing that the payments were not made.

Spousal maintenance orders can be enforced in a number of different ways, including the following:

  • Lien against property

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Do I Have To Pay Child Support If I Pay Alimony

Child support and alimony are determined separatelyso yes, child support may still be required for parties ordered to pay alimony. Alimony is for one ex-spouses general living expenses, and while this may be influenced by the presence of minor or dependent children, children are not the main factor.

Conversely, child support is intended for a separate and more specific set of costs related only to raising children. It may be granted automatically by a judge regardless of any request by one party for alimony.

Reducing Your Alimony Payments

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Generally, for a modification to be granted, you must prove that you experienced a change in circumstances. However, alimony may also be reduced or terminated based on your former spouses circumstances. For example, if he or she remarried, alimony payments would automatically cancel. If your former spouse is cohabitating with a new partner, you can also petition the court to terminate alimony payments. It is unlikely a judge will grant a reduction of alimony payments if your former spouse experienced a minor increase in income. If your exs income significantly increased, however, alimony payments may be reduced.

Below are some other examples of changes in circumstances that may result in a reduction of alimony payments:

  • You involuntarily lost your job.
  • You involuntarily took a pay cut.
  • You developed a condition or disability that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.

If you voluntarily quit your job or accepted a job with fewer responsibilities and reduced pay, a judge may not grant a modification to your alimony payments. Voluntarily leaving your job may be viewed as a tactic to pay less alimony to your spouse, which is why modifications are typically not granted under such circumstances.

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The Process For Reducing Alimony In Nj

There are several complex steps involved when seeking an alimony reduction or termination in New Jersey. You could try to negotiate with your ex-spouse or her attorney. If that fails or you know that negotiation with your ex-spouse will not be productive, perhaps you want to obtain counsel and then decide whether mediation is appropriate and whether it is a perquisite as set forth under your divorce agreement. Otherwise, youll have to be the one to file a motion with the family law court asking for a change to your alimony order.

The New Jersey Courts even recommend in their change of order packet that you get a lawyer rather than trying to represent yourself, given the legal complexities involved in this particular process. When you seek a post-divorce modification of your alimony, an attorney from our firm will take the lead to strategize and prepare the necessary forms and other pieces of evidence you may need. Our experienced attorney will also guide you throughout the process and be at your side during the motion hearing. Dont go it alone when so much is at stake financially.

Under the right circumstances and with knowledgeable legal representation, you could be on your way to reduced alimony payments or leaving the headache of making payments to your ex-spouse completely behind.

How To Avoid Paying Spousal Maintenance In A Divorce

Depending on your circumstances, you may be scrambling to figure out how to avoid paying spousal maintenance in a divorce. Since family law matters often evolve, Missouri allows maintenance orders to be modified.

Due to the wording in a prenuptial agreement or in the support order itself, however, the court cannot modify the amount in some cases. This is because of a precise termination date to which the court must adhere.

Missouri law requires proof of substantial and continuing changes in the parties circumstances to modify a support obligation if it can be modified. Though the entire process can be complex, however, guidance from an experienced attorney can help you get the best results.

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