Divorce can be a complicated process, especially if you and your spouse have children or a large number of assets involved. Depending on your circumstances, the court may order you to provide alimony to your former spouse, or financial support paid by one spouse to another after a divorce. While not as strict as child support orders, alimony is still subject to a number of stipulations and conditions.
What Is Alimony?
During a divorce, the court can order you to pay alimony to provide the reasonable and necessary support for your former spouse. He or she will need to prove to the court that he or she requires financial support in the aftermath of the divorce. In addition, your former spouse will need to show that you have the ability to make these payments.
If the court grants him or her alimony, you will need to agree to how long you will provide this support for and how much you can contribute. There are two main types of alimony payments.
- You will need to pay indefinite or permanent alimony until you or your former spouse passes away or circumstances change so that alimony is no longer appropriate. Remarriage, children moving out of the home, retirement, and many other events may cause a judge to end an indefinite alimony arrangement.
- You will need to pay time-limited alimony for a certain period of time, set by the judge presiding over your divorce. The judge may set this time period based on how long it takes your spouse to find a job, receive training, or become self-sufficient again.
Appropriate Alimony Uses
When the court orders you to pay alimony to your former spouse, the main purpose of these payments is to level the economic playing field after a divorce. For example, if you were the main provider for the household and your spouse took care of the children, it can be difficult to adjust to living without your income for him or her. In addition, if your spouse works a lower-paying job than you do, alimony is appropriate to help him or her continue the standard of living.
Your former spouse may use your alimony payments to help make ends meet after a divorce, and may use the funds to cover expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, credit cards, phone and internet, and food.
Alimony payments are separate from child support payments, which are subject to very strict restrictions on what your spouse can use this money for. You may have to pay both child support and alimony to your former spouse, depending on the circumstances of your case.
How Do Courts Calculate Alimony?
You can develop an alimony arrangement in one of two ways. You and your former spouse can negotiate the terms of the payments during negotiation, or the court will decide for you. During negotiations, you and your spouse, along with your Indianapolis alimony lawyer, will discuss the needs and financial situations of all parties involved. You may come to an agreement during this negotiation that will keep your divorce from going to trial.
If you cannot come to an agreement during negotiation, the court will take over. Courts often use the following factors to calculate the amount of alimony you will need to pay.
- The length of time it will take for your former spouse to become self-sufficient
- Your standard of living during your marriage
- How long you and your former spouse were married
- Your ability to make alimony payments and support yourself
- Your former spouse’s financial situation, emotional and physical condition, and age
If your spouse requests alimony payments during your divorce negotiations, understanding the conditions and the stipulations surrounding spousal support is important. You want to ensure the money is going to the correct expenses and that you do not have to pay more than you need to. In these situations, hiring a divorce attorney to represent your best interests is vital. If you have not done so already, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to assist with your divorce.