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Alimony Agreements

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Nationally, 50 percent of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home. (Senator Joseph Biden, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System)

Family Law - Alimony

The purpose of alimony is to provide an adequate income stream for the spouse who had become economically dependent on the other spouse. The court has considerable discretion in determining whether to award alimony. If alimony is awarded, the court has considerable discretion in determining the amount of alimony. The court will consider many factors in determining the amount of alimony, including:

•  The standard of living established during the marriage;

•  The duration of the marriage;

•  The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;

•  The financial resources of each party;

•  Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;

•  The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;

•  The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties; and

•  Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.

Marital fault is generally not a factor in deciding whether alimony should be awarded. The reason the courts do not generally consider marital fault in determining alimony is because the purpose of alimony is not to punish or reward the spouse requesting alimony. Spousal support or alimony is only granted to individuals who were actually and legally married. The rules regarding spousal support vary from state to state, and are often classified based on the length of marriage.

There are three main types of alimony:

  • Permanent alimony - alimony awarded after a divorce consisting of regular payments that may change or end if the receiving party remarries.
  • Temporary alimony - alimony awarded during divorce proceedings or separation consisting of regular payments that include money for divorce costs and money for daily living. Temporary alimony is paid until the court has made a determination on permanent alimony.
  • Lump sum alimony - alimony that is paid all at once. Only some states allow this type of alimony payment.

Although most alimony payments are made from the husband to the wife, in instances where the husband stays home and takes care of the home and children, the wife will be required to pay alimony. If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about alimony payments, contact an experienced divorce attorney today.

How Long Will a Spouse Have to Pay Alimony?

Free legal information for spousal support law @ on the particular circumstances, alimony is ordered to be paid during the time period that the supported spouse is seeking education, training, and marketable job skills in order to establish a career or otherwise become self-supportive. Consideration of the responsibility for providing child care during the early years of a minor child factors into this determination. A court order for alimony terminates upon the death or remarriage of the supported spouse.

Enforcement Of Alimony Decree By The Court 

Once the court orders that alimony is to be paid, failure to pay is disobeying a court order, otherwise known as "contempt of court."   Remedies available to the person seeking alimony include: wage liens, levies upon real and personal property, garnishment of property, and garnishment of wages. It is highly unlikely that a party will be imprisoned for failure to pay alimony and/or child support.


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