(Spousal Support/Maintenance)

Alimony, which is often called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is generally based upon “need” and “ability”. Alimony may be a factor in a Divorce case, but it is not a factor and will not be ordered in a Paternity case. The “need” for Alimony is based upon the proven “need” by the person asking for Alimony and the “ability” to pay Alimony is based upon the proven financial ability of the person who may have to pay Alimony. These two general factors must be present, as you cannot have one without the other. Similar to Child Support, there are many factors that are considered to determine “need” and “ability”, which will ultimately decide/dictate the amount of Alimony and how long (duration) it will be paid. Some of those factors include: length of the marriage, age of each person, health of each person, work history, education, and lifestyle established during the marriage.

When applying the above factors, along with many other factors not mentioned above, the Court may award one of the following types of alimony:

  • Temporary Alimony: This may be awarded during the divorce proceeding (while the divorce is pending) to help the parties even-out the financial resources. This ends upon the Final Judgment of Divorce being granted.
  • Bridge The Gap Alimony: This type of alimony usually has a definitive beginning and ending, but is primarily used to help the person get back on their feet after the divorce. It is for short term needs and cannot be ordered for a period of more than two years and it cannot be modified in amount or duration.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This may be awarded to a person to help them get themselves to a financial position to be able to support her or himself. This is often used in conjunction with payments for educational or vocational training expenses of the receiving person. There must be a “rehabilitative plan” with specifics, submitted to the Court with this type of alimony. This type of alimony may be modified or terminated, but there is no definite beginning or ending.
  • Durational Alimony: This type of alimony is awarded for a definitive period of time and sometimes as a substitute for “permanent” alimony. It is to assist a person with their financial needs for a set period of time. However, the length of the durational alimony should not exceed the length of the marriage and may not be modified, except under exceptional circumstances.
  • Permanent Alimony: This may be awarded in marriages that are considered “long term”, which has been defined as being 17 years or longer. Permanent alimony is awarded so that the recipient can provide for his or her necessities, as they were established during the marriage. Usually one of the spouses has not worked during the marriage or for a large portion of the marriage. The recipient may be a “homemaker”, staying at home with children, or sometimes at the request of the other spouse. Permanent support may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, but it generally does not terminate until the death of one of the spouses (either party) or remarriage of the recipient spouse.

Your financial concerns of the utmost importance to us and we take every matter very seriously, down to the last penny. Its your legal right to know whether you should be paying alimony and how much. It is also your legal right to know whether you should be receiving alimony and how much. If you would like more information on your legal rights and how alimony may impact your case, please call or contact the Simmons Law Firm.