When a marriage ends, the court may order one of the spouses to pay alimony to the other. To get alimony, you must prove to the court that you need financial assistance. Here are some questions you should ask your divorce attorney before claiming alimony.
What Is the Difference Between Alimony and Separation Maintenance?
Alimony is also known as spousal support. The court may order for alimony while the divorce is in progress. This is called temporary alimony. The court may fail to award alimony after the divorce. However, if alimony is awarded after the divorce, it could be lower or higher than the temporary amount.
Separate maintenance is different from alimony because one spouse pays it while they are still married. The court orders these payments if the spouse with money refuses to pay the other spouse who is in financial need. This maintenance is used when a couple does not want to get divorced but wants to live apart.
What Does the Court Look at Before Granting Alimony?
In many states, courts award alimony based on the provisions in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. According to the Act, alimony is granted depending on the former spouses' age, emotional state, physical condition, and financial status. It also recommends that the court consider the length of the marriage and the couple's standard of living while they were married.
Other provisions include the ability of the payer spouse to pay support and still be able to finance their own needs. The court should also determine the length of time the recipient will need training before they become self-sufficient. Based on the provisions in the Act, your divorce lawyer will advise you on whether or not to seek alimony.
When Can an Alimony Order Be Changed?
Suppose the court awards alimony, but the agreement does not include a provision regarding when alimony can be modified. In that case, you can request the court to modify the order by filing a request. In this case, the paying spouse has to demonstrate a change in financial circumstances. This change may either reflect on you or the paying spouse.
A significant change in circumstances may include involuntary wage reduction or loss of a job or an illness or disability that hinders the paying spouse from working. Other examples include showing that you have remarried or are cohabiting with a new partner or that your income has increased. Depending on the circumstances, the court may either withdraw, increase, or decrease the alimony payments.
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