10 Things You May Not Know About Alimony

When you divorce, you may be entitled to receive payments from your ex known as alimony, or spousal support. Divorce can be a confusing time, and hammering out a divorce agreement that is fair and workable can be a challenge, given the myriad of important issues that must be addressed, such as child support, custody and visitation, debt and property division and more. Don't allow the chance to have your spouse provide alimony pass you by; the financial ramifications of divorce can set you up for a lifetime of hardship. For 10 things that you may not know about this valuable resource, read on.

1. The main reason that alimony was created was to attempt to bring some financial parity to spouses who may have given up their educational opportunities or careers to stay home and care for children. That reason is no less relevant today than it was in 1754 BC.

2. Alimony can be ordered and paid before you even file for divorce. A legal separation agreement should be filed with the court which sets the provision in place.

3. Tying alimony to fault varies by state, and even in the no-fault states judges may punish a spouse for bad behavior using alimony (and property awards). On the other hand, some states strictly forbid tying alimony to errant behavior.

4. Normally the higher earning spouse is ordered to pay alimony, and nowadays that may be either the male or the female.

5. The divorce decree will specifically address alimony/spousal support. Be very cautious about leaving this provision off your decree, since reopening a divorce proceeding for this purpose may be difficult, if not impossible. It should be noted that issues concerning minor children can always be re-visited, since what constitutes the "best interest of the child" is a constantly changing ideal.

6. Two types of alimony are available: temporary and permanent. While permanent support is not common, when it is ordered, it can be worded to exceed your ex-spouse's life, with provisions for continued support addressed in the will.

7. Temporary support is more common and is sometimes referred to as rehabilitative support. This provides a spouse with time and money to complete job training or other educational requirements.

8. Once a provision is in place, the spousal support issue can be amended, if needed. For example, you may ask for a reduction in payments because of a job (and income) change.

9. It's a common misconception, but alimony does not necessarily have to cease with the remarriage of the receiving spouse. In fact, you may be able to have lifetime alimony, particularly if you agree to a lower monthly payment in exchange.

10. Taxes must be paid on spousal support, unlike child support. Don't be tempted to ask for higher child support as a result, however, since these payments are strictly based on income and monitored by the IRS.

Contact your divorce attorney like one from Gruber & Associates, PC for more information about alimony.