Spouses who are parting ways may have to face a not-so-fun dispute over alimony payments. Alimony may also be referred to as “maintenance” or “spousal support”. A spouse who earned significantly more than the other may be required by the court to pay alimony. Alimony isn’t typically awarded in short term marriages, or in which both spouses made an equal amount. If you are not sure whether you may be the paying or recipient spouse, you can rely on the knowledge of an attorney for more information. They have probably worked with clients like yourself, who want financial stability after a separation or divorce.
If one spouse is ordered to pay alimony, he or she usually submits certain amounts every month until the former spouse remarries, children no longer require a stay-at-home parent, one of the spouses pass, or some other serious life event occurs. Alimony may be terminated if, after a reasonable period, the recipient spouse still hasn’t tried to become financially independent.
Reaching an Agreement
Parting spouses may be able to work out an alimony arrangement that works for both. Spouses may attend mediation or talk amongst themselves privately, regarding how much alimony is to be paid and for how long. But, since finances are a sensitive topic and not many spouses are amicable after separation, finding a resolution without court interference may be impossible. If you are unable to reach an agreement, an attorney can help get you prepared for an upcoming alimony court hearing.
Expectations of the Recipient Spouse
In general, when determining alimony, a judge looks at the recipient spouse’s capacity to earn, instead of how much he or she is currently making. The recipient spouse may need to make changes in his or her life, with the goal in mind to work towards financial independence. A vocational evaluator may be hired to inform the court about what job prospects are available to the recipient spouse, particularly if he or she hasn’t been working for quite some time. The evaluator may also assess the recipient spouse’s credentials and run vocational tests to approximate earning potential.
Suggestions for the Paying Spouse
A spouse paying alimony must keep his or her financial records organized, including proof that payments have been submitted on-time and in the full amount. If cash was used, the paying spouse can request that the recipient spouse signs and dates a receipt of payment. If an issue arises, the paying spouse can easily and quickly access financial records related to alimony.
A family lawyer in Bloomington, IL understands that the nature of alimony disputes can be complex and mentally exhausting. They can answer any questions you have, in addition to helping you seek a financial arrangement that works for you. Your attorney will do what they can to see that the alimony verdict is fair and that it doesn’t cause you financial hardship.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and how an attorney can help with an alimony dispute.