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Is Alimony The Same As Spousal Support

How Long Does An Ex Husband Pay Alimony

Domestic Relations Law: Spousal Support and Alimony

10-20 years On average, you can expect to pay alimony for about 60 to 70 percent of the length of your marriage. So, if you were married for 20 years, your alimony will likely last between 12 and 14 years. However, this can change considerably based on individual circumstances and the judge overseeing your case.

How Do Judges Determine When Spousal Support Or Alimony Is Granted

Georgia Code Section §19-6-1 defines alimony and explains when it is authorized. Its important to note that the parties can agree upon spousal supportit doesnt necessarily have to be ordered by a judge.

Courts are not required to grant spousal support after a divorce. Alimony is decided on a case-by-case basis. It is not a right, but the court can order spousal support when the circumstances justify an award.

Some states tie the payment of alimony to fault. In other words, courts were more likely to award the innocent spouse alimony because of the wrongdoing of the at-fault spouse. However, state laws can vary significantly on this point.

Georgia laws state that a party is not entitled to alimony if that partys adultery or desertion caused the separation between the parties. Therefore, in Georgia, the fault for the cause of the separation and divorce is an essential factor in decisions regarding alimony.

In all other cases, alimony may be awarded according to one partys financial needs and the other partys ability to pay spousal support payments. Judges consider several factors when determining if a spouse should receive support payments.

Factors include:

The judge may consider any relevant factors related to the financial support of a spouse. Judges have broad discretion to award alimony payments in a divorce action. That includes the amount of spousal support awarded and the duration of the alimony payments.

Limited Duration Or Rehabilitative Spousal Support:

Limited duration spousal support applies to marriages that were fairly short, but the parties have very different incomes, or where the parties have similar earning capacities but perhaps one was out of the workforce for a short time to raise children. The amount of support in these circumstances is intended to be a limited recognition of the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage, or a way to assist a stay-at-home spouse during the time it will likely take to re-enter into the workforce.

Also Check: How Long Does Alimony Last In Florida

Spousal Support Guidelines How Much Do I Need To Pay

Determining the correct amount of alimony is more of an art than a science. There are spousal support guidelines in place to help make this determination.

The Spousal Support Guidelines are simply recommendations, not rules. However, judges generally follow them and the courts have stated that if a judge awards an amount of spousal support that is significantly different from the Spousal Support Guidelines, the judge must give reasons why this is the case.

Here is roughly what you can expect :

  • Where no child support is being paid, the recipient spouses income was 36.6% to 44.5% of the families net disposable income .
  • In cases of shared or split custody the familys net disposable income is divided approximately equally between the two spouses.
  • When one child is living with the alimony recipient, the recipient typically receives 45-50% of the familys net disposable income.
  • When two children are living with the spousal support recipient, the recipient typically receives about 55% of the familys net disposable income.
  • When three children are living with the alimony recipient, the recipient typically receives about 60% of the familys net disposable income.
  • When the children are in the care of the spousal support payor, the custodial parent typically keeps about 60% of the familys net disposable income. The alimony recipient usually receives what would be given if there were no children.
  • Some important things to note about the amount of alimony awarded:

    Making Sure Payments Are Tax

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

    However, not all alimony payments qualify as deductions. The IRS imposes seven requirements on taxpayers seeking to deduct alimony payments:

  • Make payments in cash or by check. You must pay alimony by cash or check for the benefit of a spouse or former spouse. The value of in-kind alimonyfor example, giving your spouse your carisn’t deductible.
  • Follow the documents and designate payments as tax-deductible. Make payments in accordance with a divorce document, such as a marital settlement agreement, separation agreement, court order, or divorce judgment. Payments made under a temporary support order also qualify. Just make sure your documents state the amount to be paid and describe it as alimony, spousal support, or spousal maintenance. The documents should also clearly label the payments as deductible by the payor spouse and taxable to the recipient spouse.
  • Don’t characterize payments as child support or a part of a property settlement. Child support payments, unlike alimony, are never tax-deductible. So be sure that alimony payments are not tied in any way to support of your children. For example, if you agree that alimony will end when your child becomes an adult, you run the risk that the IRS will reclassify past alimony as nondeductible child support. The IRS would disallow your past alimony deductions, and you would owe back taxes. Similarly, if the IRS views your payment as part of your division of , it’s not tax-deductible.
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    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.

    Can I Avoid Alimony By Moving Overseas

    Just like moving across state lines, if you are legally obligated to pay alimony or spousal support under an agreement in Texas, you will still be legally obligated to pay if you move overseas. Now, you may be able to avoid paying alimony or spousal support while your ex tries to track you down, but you may lose access to any children you share and face severe consequences if and when you return to the United States.

    If you dont pay spousal support or alimony you are obligated to pay, you would be subject to enforcement of the decree or contract and ordered to pay the money owed plus interest. You could also be found in criminal contempt and be sent to jail if youve returned from overseas. In addition, the other party could be awarded a judgment against you, which they could try to abstract from you by going after a property you own.

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    What To Do When Court

    If a judge has ordered alimony, it must be paid, and the payer can be held accountable for failing to pay.

    If your spouse has been ordered to pay alimony but is refusing to do so, you can file a motion in court, and the spouse could be held in contempt. This can result in fines and penalties.

    Your spouse could also be required to make up for missed alimony payments by paying retroactively what was due in the past but not paid.

    After you file a motion notifying the court that your spouse has failed to pay alimony, the court will schedule a hearing during which a judge will speak to all parties to determine why one spouse is refusing to pay alimony and to decide upon the best course of action.

    The Date Of Divorce Matters


    If you finalized your divorce before January 1, 2019, the spouse paying support may report the payments as a tax deduction, and the recipient must report and pay taxes on the alimony as income . For couples whose divorce was pending on or after January 1, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service no longer treats spousal support payments as income to the spouse who receives it, nor does it allow the paying spouse to take a tax deduction for the amount of alimony paid each year.

    Read Also: Questions To Ask Before Divorce

    Alimony And Spousal Support Are The Same Thing

    On Behalf of Treneff Cozza Law, LLC | Mar 20, 2012 | Alimony

    A couple in Ohio is currently working to finalize their divorce. The two have children together and are negotiating the end of the marriage well, but the husband has told the wife previously that he would never agree to a document that has him paying . He has also said that he would always support their children and his soon-to-be ex-wife.

    Documents sent by his lawyer, which the husband has agreed to, show that he will pay both child support and spousal support. The sum that he has agreed to for spousal support is adequate and the wife has even considered calling it generous. But arent spousal support and alimony the same thing?

    According to at least two area family law attorneys and probably more the two terms are interchangeable. The wifes attorney told her that the current agreement on the table, though it does not use the word alimony, will require him to make payments in this regard. Her attorney then suggested that she sign the agreement, but she is worried that her husband will be upset when he realizes one day that he is paying alimony, despite saying that he would never do such a thing.

    Some would say she is right to be worried. The best thing for their relationship, in the long run, may be to tell him that he will be paying alimony if she agrees to the current offer. As long as he understands this and his offer stands then the agreement can be made.

    Consult With A Harford County Divorce Attorney At Rodier Family Law To Learn More

    If you are currently experiencing a divorce and the financial complexities that come with it, you may still be experiencing some confusion when it comes to comparing alimony and child support. Seeking out the guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney can provide you with the expertise and support you need to ensure that you are taking the best course of action. Whether it is requesting or paying child support, the trustworthy divorce attorneys at Rodier Family Law are here to navigate you through every step of the process. To consult with one of our attorneys regarding your financial support, contact our Bel Air office today.

    Also Check: Is Spousal Support The Same As Alimony

    Alimony Vs Spousal Support

    Alimony, or spousal support, helps one spouse maintain the lifestyle of the marriage. In most cases, it continues until the receiving spouse completes education or training and increases their earning capacity. For marriages of 20 years or more, it can last longer. In New Jersey, the duration of spousal support cannot exceed the length of the marriage.

    Alimony and spousal support are two sides of the same coin. Traditionally, we think of women receiving alimony after a long marriage. That kind of alimony is still available.

    But as modern family dynamics have changed, so has our language.

    Use Fault Grounds To Win A More Favorable Divorce Settlement

    Spousal Support in Texas: How much and how long?

    While Texas is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce , the courts will consider certain fault grounds when determining how to divide the marital estate. The four fault grounds in Texas include cruelty, adultery, a conviction of a felony, and abandonment.

    In order to prove fault, you will need to provide solid evidence that the fault actually occurred, as well as the gravity of that fault. Just because you can prove fault based on Texas fault grounds doesnt guarantee you can avoid paying spousal support however, the judge may consider it depending on the circumstances involved with your case.

    Learn more about the seven grounds for divorce in Texas here.

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    What Else You Need To Know

    If you are thinking about finding a good divorce attorney to help you navigate these questions, do your homework first. Find an attorney who will offer a consultation, and come prepared with information about your situation.

    Although alimony and spousal support refer to the same concept, it is important to know that not all exchanges of money or property during a divorce are considered alimony or spousal support . You may also want to be familiar with a few key terms to help you navigate the conversation and its associated paperwork:

    • Pendente lite ~ Latin for during litigation. This refers to temporary spousal supportthose short-term payment arrangements while the parties settle on a long-term support order.
    • Child support ~ Child support are those monthly payments meant to ensure children of divorce have their needs met and enjoy relatively economically similar experiences no matter which parent they are with. Child support orders are established before spousal support orders. Child support is not the same as spousal support.
    • QDRO ~ Pronounced quadro, QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This mouthful of a name refers to the California court order that you may need in order to divide a retirement plan that is otherwise indivisible or untouchable. Depending on the terms of your divorce or your retirement plans, you may not need a QDRO. The division of retirement account assets is typically not the same as spousal support.

    How Does The Court Decide If A Spouse Lacks Earning Ability To Provide For His Or Her Minimum Reasonable Needs

    The Court will consider all the relevant factors, such as:

    • Financial resources available to each party once their property is divided by the court,
    • The education and employment skills of the spouses,
    • The time necessary to obtain sufficient education or training to enable the spouse to earn sufficient income, and
    • The availability and feasibility of such training.

    The Court will also look at factors such as the duration of the marriage, the spouses health and age, and how the spouses treated each other. The Court will make a decision on spousal maintenance based on the above factors and anything else that might be important.

    The spouse seeking spousal maintenance will also have to demonstrate that he or she has diligently searched for employment, training, and educational opportunities. The due diligence requirement does not apply in cases where the Affidavit of Support is being enforced.

    Read Also: Divorce In The United States

    Wondering How To Avoid Paying Alimony Or Spousal Support In Texas And Think You Have A Solid Case

    The Sisemore Law Firm is here to help. If youd like to speak with a divorce attorney in Fort Worth, contact us to schedule a confidential case review with our founder attorney Justin Sisemore. Justin will take a deep dive into your case and explain what options are available to you based on your circumstances. You can reach our Fort Worth law firm by calling our office at 336-4444 or connecting with us online.

    What Does Spousal Maintenance Pay For

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

    Spousal maintenance can be ordered as either a substitute for a property division, short-term support to aid the ex-spouse in becoming self-sufficient, or lifetime support of a spouse who has a limited earning ability or who is unemployable. The framework of the initial alimony decision is critical to whether the support obligation is subject to termination.

    Court Order For Spousal Support

    If you and your partner cannot agree to a spousal support amount, you may choose to go to court and ask a judge to decide. This flowchart can help you decide the steps to take in the family law court process.

    A family court makes decisions using the Family Law Rules and laws. Once the judge reaches a decision on your case, the court will file a support order with the Family Responsibility Office to enforce support payments.

    Follow these steps to get the FRO to enforce your agreement.

  • Provide FRO with copies of the separation agreement, the Form 26B: Affidavit for Filing Domestic Contract or Paternity Agreement with Court and a completed FRO registration package.
  • Once the FRO registers your agreement, spousal support will be paid directly to the FRO, who will deposit support payments to the recipients bank account usually within 48 hours.

    Do I Need An Attorney For Help With Spousal Support Issues

    If you have been ordered to pay alimony or receive alimony payments, issues may arise regarding the amount to be paid and when. Since laws change depending on the state, it is crucial to determine what your local states stance is on the issue of alimony.

    It is important to seek out an experienced local family law attorney in your state to guide your process in determining a fair and just alimony support figuration.

    How Long Do Alimony Payments Last

    • The judge sets a date several years in the future when the payments will stop.
    • The person receiving alimony remarries.
    • The children no longer need a full-time parent at home.
    • A judge determines that after a reasonable period of time the person receiving alimony has not made a sufficient effort to become at least partially self-supporting.
    • Some other significant event such as retirement occurs, convincing a judge to modify the amount paid.
    • One party dies.

    How Long Do Alimony Payments Last In Georgia

    Modifications to Spousal Support: The Approach to Modifying Spousal ...

    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.

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