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How To Qualify For Alimony

How Courts Determine The Amount Of Spousal Support

How to Get Spousal Support (Alimony)

Once the court has determined that the requirements stated above have been met, it may consider the following factors to determine the amount of spousal support a dependent spouse can receive.

  • the couples standard of living before filing a divorce
  • the source of income and financial obligations of each spouse
  • the length of the couples marriage
  • the assets and debts accrued by each spouse
  • the conduct of each spouse during their marriage
  • the age and health condition of the dependent spouse

Most divorce decrees include a provision that a dependent spouse must seek employment and create a means of supporting themselves while receiving alimony payments. If the dependent spouse does not show any effort to become financially independent, the paying spouse can petition the court to terminate spousal payments.

Keep Tabs On Your Spouses Relationship Status

If your spouse had an affair through the course of the marriage, and you have proof of such, you may be able to avoid alimony payments, but some states require you to have proof that marital money was used in the context of the affair.

For instance, if your spouse spent money on trips out of town with the affair partner or gave money to help the partner pay bills, this could be the cause for stopping you from paying alimony.

You may also see a stop or reduction in your alimony obligations if your former spouse remarries or moves in with another partner.

Knowing your spouses relationship status and state laws that apply to new relationships can be helpful if youre looking to reduce your alimony percentage or eliminate it altogether.

Requirements For Alimony Payments

According to the Internal Revenue Service , alimony payments must meet the following criteria:

  • Spouses must file separate tax returns.
  • Alimony payments must be made by cash, check, or money order.
  • Payments are made under a divorce or separation instrument to a spouse or former spouse.
  • The instrument must specify the payments as alimony.
  • The spouses must live apart.
  • Theres no liability to make alimony payments after the recipient spouse dies.

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How Much Alimony Can I Expect To Get

If you qualify for alimony, the amount awarded will depend on several factors, including:

  • The same factors used to decide if you qualify
  • Your marital standard of living
  • You and your spouses age, health, earning capacity and relative financial resources
  • Your spouses ability to afford to pay alimony
  • The marriages duration
  • You or your spouses bad faith and criminal conduct

Often, we are able to negotiate an agreement on the amount with your spouse but, if not, we are always prepared to go to court to seek the spousal maintenance you deserve.

How Are Alimony Payments Determined


Alimony is a legal obligation in which one spouse makes regular payments to the other spouseformer or current. Payments are normally issued in cases where one spouse earns a higher income than the other. When a married couple becomes legally separated or divorced, both parties can agree to the conditions of alimony on their own. However, if they cant come to an agreement, then a court may determine the legal obligationor alimonyfor one individual to provide financial support to the other. Some of the things that a judge will consider include:

  • The amount that each party may reasonably earn every month
  • The reasonable expenses that each party will incur
  • If alimony can make it possible for the receiving party to maintain a lifestyle that is close to what the couple had during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The financial situation of each spouse
  • The economic and noneconomic contributions that each spouse made to the marriage
  • Any economic opportunities lost due to the marriage
  • Any other factor that a judge deems pertinent to determining whether alimony should be awardedand how much

Alimony payments may not be issued if both spouses have similar annual incomes or if the marriage is fairly new. A judgeor both partiesalso might set an expiration date at the onset of the alimony decree, after which time the payer is no longer required to provide financial support to their spouse.

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Do I Qualify For Alimony

There is no requirement that a spouse receives alimony in a Virginia divorce, and in many divorces, neither spouse does. In fact, alimony also called spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about if you will be able to support yourself once its finalized, its time to consult with a dedicated Virginia divorce attorney with considerable experience successfully securing alimony for clients in need.

How Do I Enforce An Alimony Award

A spouse who is ordered to pay alimony in a divorce will need to make the payments when they are due. Alimony starts as soon as a divorce order requiring it is signed by the judge. A spouse who fails to make the required alimony payments can be held in contempt of court. This means the supported spouse can file a show cause action with the court against the spouse refusing to make alimony payments.

The court will set a hearing to determine the reason for payment delinquencies. Family law courts have various tools from their resources to enforce alimony payments. Therefore, the spouse not making the payments in accordance with the divorce decree could face fines and penalties.

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Types Of Alimony Available For Your California Divorce

Its important to understand the difference between temporary alimony and permanent alimony when going through divorce proceedings. The factors that determine permanent alimony, such as the ones named above, will not necessarily come into play in a decision to grant temporary alimony.

Temporary alimony is usually granted by a judge in order to maintain the economic standards of both parties so long as divorce proceedings remain active. Although nothing legally prevents a judge from considering the factors for permanent alimony while deciding to award temporary, its possible that a computer program used to determine child support will be used.

If youre worried about the impact of your divorce on your financial situation, consulting an experienced family lawyer is a good place to start.

How Is The Amount Of Alimony Determined

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

Unlike child support, which in most states is required according to very specific monetary guidelines, courts have a broader discretion in determining whether to grant spousal support.

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, on which many statesspousal support statutes are based, suggests that courts consider the following factors in making decisions about spousal support awards:

  • The age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouses
  • The length of time the recipient may need for education or training to become self-sufficient
  • The couples standard of living during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage and
  • The ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and still support himself or herself.

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Meeting The Alimony Requirements

Alimony is awarded to ensure both spouses can maintain a lifestyle that they are comfortable with, or one that is as close to their accustomed standard of living as possible. To meet the requirements of an alimony award, there must be a discrepancy in the recipients lifestyle between their life at the time of separation and after separation. The court will refer to the standard of living that existed at the time of separation to see if an alimony award should be granted. This is only one fact, however and the court will also take the above factors into consideration as well.

How To Know Whether You Qualify For Alimony In California

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is a legal arrangement that calls for payments from one spouse to another as part of their divorce agreement. Alimony isnt a possibility in every situation, but it may be possible for you depending on the structure of your marriage and family life.

A typical arrangement in many marriages is for one main breadwinner or the one who contributes to the majority of the households income. In many cases, one spouse opts to stay home to either take of the home, raise children, or both. When this happens, the spouse who isnt working or works less sacrifices their own career for the family.

In these cases, alimony may be granted to allow the non-working spouse after the end of their marriage. In the end, some of the factors that play a role include the spouses work prospects, income, and standard of living.

Additional factors that may be considered during the awarding of alimony include:

  • The job-related skills of the supported party, and the market for these skills
  • The role that domestic responsibilities played in limiting earning capacity
  • The ability of the supporting party to pay alimony
  • The assets of both parties, including savings, debt, and real estate
  • The length of the marriage

The only way to know if you qualify for alimony is to ask a judge to grant it after you have filed for divorce.

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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.

Am I Entitled To Alimony

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Whether or not you will be able to receive alimony depends upon your financial situation and the laws in your state.

If your spouse worked and you stayed at home to raise children, or if you earn significantly less than your spouse, you may be able to receive alimony as part of a divorce or separation.

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When Youre The One Making Alimony Payments

Are you the one paying alimony or child support? If so, it could affect your mortgage prospects because lenders consider alimony and child support to be outstanding debts. When evaluating your mortgage application, lenders look at something called your debt-to-income ratio. This percentage explains how much of your monthly gross income goes toward paying off recurring debt.

You can calculate your DTI ratio by dividing all of your monthly debts by your total monthly income.

For example, lets say that your monthly bills include a car payment , rent , a student loan payment and a credit card payment . Lets also say that you earn $6,000 a month before taxes.

To find your DTI ratio, you would divide your total debt amount by your total gross income and multiply that number by 100. In this example, your DTI ratio would be about 19.2%.

Its best to keep your DTI at 43% or under when you apply for a mortgage. If child support and alimony push your DTI past 43%, you might have a harder time getting favorable terms or getting a loan at all. Youll have to work on decreasing your recurring debt before applying for a mortgage.

Types Of Alimony In Tennessee

What is the alimony in futuro definition under Tennessee divorce law?

Alimony in futuro definition is long-term alimony awarded when there is a significant disparity in earnings and wealth, and when rehabilitation is not possible. Tennessee law says that alimony in futuro will be owed when the person receiving support cannot be expected to reach a level of earning capacity to allow a standard of living comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage or comparable to the post-divorce standard of living enjoyed by the other spouse. Over the last 25 years or so, that aspirational goal of the law has been consistently undercut. In practice, courts are more likely to expect an able-bodied, intelligent spouse to do more on his or her own. The vast majority of judges are not going to award an amount to make the lifestyles of the parties exactly equal post-divorce. To learn more about the role of lifestyle evidence, read Lifestyle Analysis.

Alimony in futuro can be modified by the court upon a showing of a change of circumstances. If the supported spouse lives with a third-party , then the court may consider this a rebuttable presumption that support may no longer be needed. Alimony in futuro automatically terminates upon the death of either party or upon the recipients remarriage. To read more about alimony in futuro, see Tennessee Alimony in Futuro .

What is transitional alimony in Tennessee law?

Can you give an example of Transitional Alimony?

Tennessee Law on Alimony

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Qualifying For Spousal Maintenance

The Wisconsin courts can grant alimony to either party in cases of annulment, divorce, or legal separation. Whether alimony is awarded depends on the following list of factors:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The property division in the case.
  • The age and physical and emotional health of each party.
  • Each party’s education level at the beginning and end of the marriage.
  • The earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance.
  • A partys contribution to the others earning power .
  • Whether the person seeking maintenance can become self-supporting at a comparable standard of living.
  • Any previously made agreements regarding financial support.
  • The tax consequences to each party.
  • Any other factors the court decides are relevant.
  • The reason for divorce cannot be a factor because Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. Some of the factors arent as straightforward as others, so below is a deeper look into a few.

    Can Alimony Help You Qualify For A Mortgage

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    Youll need to submit proof of all of your income streams when you apply for a mortgage, and lenders consider alimony checks to be a valid source of income. Alimony can boost your total monthly income and can, therefore, convince lenders to extend you a larger mortgage.

    Keep in mind that alimony payments are different from child support payments. Alimony, which is sometimes referred to in court documents as spousal support or a spousal maintenance payment, is a payment from one spouse to another that provides support following a divorce.

    Courts look at the length of the marriage, the earning power of both spouses and the reason for divorce when they determine who pays alimony. You dont need to have any children to receive or pay alimony. You might pay alimony for as little as a few months or for years, depending on your states laws and the length of your marriage as well as whatever agreement you might have in place with your ex-spouse.

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    Tax Consequences Of Alimony

    When considering alimony, it is important to look at the tax consequences of the payment. Significant changes to the tax treatment of alimony took effect January 1, 2019, with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

    Agreements prior to January 1, 2019: alimony is usually taxable to the recipient and deductible from the income of the payer.

    Agreements after January 1, 2019: alimony is not deductible to the payor, and is not income to the receiving spouse. Modifications of alimony agreements after January 1, 2019, will receive the same treatment as long as the modification:

    • changes the terms of the alimony, and
    • states that alimony is not deductible to the payor, and is not income to the receiving spouse.

    What Is Rehabilitative Alimony Used For

    For instance, if one spouse in the divorce is injured and cant work, a judge could order the other spouse to pay rehabilitative alimony until their ex is recovered. Rehabilitative alimony can also be awarded for a period of time if a spouse is unemployed, seeking a degree, or enrolled in a job training course to become more employable.

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    Fault And Your Divorce

    A special note should be made about fault-based divorces in Virginia. While the vast majority of divorces in the state are no-fault, some are based on fault. If your divorce is based on your spouses adultery, it can be taken into consideration regarding your alimony award. If your divorce, however, is predicated on your own adultery, you wont be eligible for alimony.

    What About Temporary Spousal Support

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    Spouses often need some kind of maintenance payments to help them cover their living expenses while a divorce case is proceeding. Often, the rules for awarding temporary alimony are different than for so-called permanent support. That’s partly because while a couple is still married, state laws require spouses to support each other.

    To simplify the process of deciding the amount of temporary alimony, some states and local courts use a formula or guideline.

    You don’t always have leave it up to a judge make a decision about alimony in your divorce. In fact, going to trial on any disputes with your spouse is a sure-fire way of increasing the cost of divorce. You’ll most likely need a lawyer to navigate the trial process, including gathering the right kind of evidence and preparing for the hearing. And you might have to hire experts like vocational evaluators.

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