Most people do not have any prior experience when facing a divorce, which is why they are not familiar with the process and any consequences it may have for your future. It is fairly common for the judge to decide that one of the spouses needs to pay alimony. For alimony to be awarded, the payer’s earnings should be significantly higher than the earnings of the other party.
Here is what you should know about the alimony before the divorce process even starts.
Alimony – Basic Overview
Alimony is a provision that a spouse who earns considerably more pays to the spouse that earns substantially less. Some states also recognize it as spousal maintenance or support.
If both parties have similar earnings or marriage was short, the judge reserves to decide that neither party has to pay alimony.
Once you start paying alimony, you need to make regular payments, or you may face legal consequences.
Here is what can stop alimony payments:
- A judge pre-determines that you only have to pay for alimony for a certain time
- The payee remarries
- You ask for the alimony to be canceled or the amount to be modified based on rational grounds. Those may include reduced income, retirement, the payee not making an effort to be at least somewhat self-sufficient, etc.
- The payer or the payee dies
You do not have to let the matter get to court. Alternatively, you can make an arrangement on the duration and sum you should pay for alimony. It may be wise to hire a lawyer either way as a professional may help to get the best possible outcome for you.
Am I a Bad Person If I Have to Pay Alimony?
In its essence, alimony is the law that has been around for over a century. It is a fairly common occurrence in divorce cases, and the chances are we shouldn’t expect any changes to the law soon.
Think of the alimony as a part of the divorce process. Divorce itself is difficult and comes with many different costs. If it works for you, consider alimony as an expense for a bad marriage and your wrong judgment that it will last for life. Just the fact that you have to pay alimony doesn’t make you a bad person. On the contrary, regular payments make you responsible toward your children and the former spouse.
Other Things to Consider When Paying Alimony
The first thing you want is to get proof that you made an alimony payment. If you are paying in cash, the recipient should sign a receipt. You can also save the original check or bank statement showing when you made the payment and to whom.
Make sure to consult a professional advisor when it comes to alimony-related taxes. They can significantly affect the amount paid and become the topic of argument between former spouses.
In case the alimony payment hasn’t been made, the payee has the right to demand payment by enforcing it. Alimony is no different than any other order, which means the recipient has great chances of their enforced payment request going through.