Alimony: Things You Need to Know About Spousal Support

Alimony written on an envelope with dollars.Spousal support, along with other legal family matters, can be peacefully settled by both parties. However, significant issues like this usually need professional help by a compassionate lawyer who considers the best interest of both parties and the family.

According to Smith Horton Law, the importance of seeking professional help comes in when a legal issue begins to affect the family adversely. Unlike child support, alimony computation doesn’t have “worksheets” and depends on the state’s laws.

Who Qualifies for Alimony

Alimony is financial support granted by the supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for his/her maintenance. The recipient may get the spousal support monthly or in a lump sum. Apart from this, alimony may also include the transfer of title or possession of personal property.

Various states operate on different statutes. However, The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, a basis used by the majority, states the following factors in granting alimony:

  • The age and the physical, emotional, and financial condition of the parties
  • The length of time the dependent spouse would need to be self-sufficient
  • And the ability of the supporting spouse to provide for the dependent while still being able to support himself or herself

Recent statistics show that 97% of 400,000 alimony recipients are women. But today’s cultural shifts see more female breadwinners, more wage-earning couples, and more male alimony recipients. Spousal support laws and guidelines have kept up with the times and address this legal matter beyond gender roles.

Why the Need for Spousal Support

In most cases, there will be a spouse who is more financially stable or earns more than the other. The existence of a dependent spouse takes place when one spouse gives up his/her career to invest time in taking care of the family.

Disparities happen when a spouse with higher earning power eventually replaces some or all of the assets, while the dependent spouse will resort to asset liquidation. Alimony comes in and levels this kind of inequality.

Remarriage and Cohabitation

The rules of alimony change in the case of one or both spouses remarrying or finding new life partners.

A dependent spouse’s financial support can meet termination once he/she moves in with a new partner. This is also the case if the dependent spouse commits illicit sexual behavior, then the supporting spouse will be free of financial responsibilities. However, if the supporting spouse commits such acts, then the court awards alimony to the dependent.

Above are only some things one needs to know when considering filing for alimony. Since different states operate under various laws, experts advise to be vigilant and seek the help of a professional.

3 Steps to Handle and Go through a Divorce

DivorceDivorce is never an easy process, but sometimes, couples just have to go through with it. People grow apart and life can be better if both parties move on. However, picking yourself up after the divorce can be emotionally taxing. Not to mention the legal procedures you need to handle everything properly. Here are some things you need to keep in mind to go through a divorce and be better after it.

Your Priority is Yourself

Instead of thinking about what other people would say, just focus on yourself and your feelings above all else. Divorce is a big decision and if you don’t reflect upon how you’re doing, you’ll end up more confused and lost. No matter how busy everything becomes and how many voices you hear, just be in touch with yourself. This way, you can move on and not get stuck in a vortex of anger and resentment.

Fight for Your Rights

A divorce can also become complicated if you don’t leave things in a good note. This often occurs if there’s a third party involved or a big act of betrayal has been done. To minimize the financial burdens of the divorce, including matrimonial matters and child custody concerns, look for Long Island divorce mediation services from a trusted expert. A lawyer will help you fight for what you deserve after the divorce, according to the Law Offices of Ian S. Mednick.

Welcome Friends’ Support

When everything is all said and done, always seek the love and support of people you know will always have your back. A great support system is sometimes all you need to get over the past and enjoy a new beginning in your life. Take advantage of this time to take on new challenges and pursue new opportunities to make your life take shape again.

Take these things by heart to go through the divorce a little less painful and stressful than it normally is. This way, you can get up again and live life to the fullest.

Determining Child Support Payments

Child Support

Child SupportTo effectively establish stable and consistent child support arrangements, the government mandates that states must use specific guidelines. While the specific guidelines differ from one state to another, below are the general factors considered when determining child support awards.

Income of Both Parents

The majority of state guidelines factor in both parents’ income. The amount of the parents’ combined income aids in determining the specific sum they may be mandated to deliver as child support. There are some states that factor in net income, while some states factor in gross income.

Deductions

The court allows deductions for parents providing child support from a previous marriage. To qualify for deductions, the court should have ordered the parent to pay child support, and the parent must consistently be paying for it. However, a parent can’t make income deductions for supporting subsequent children or spouses.

Childcare Costs

Most states take into account the average amount a parent should spend on childcare costs. There are some states that will modify the allowable amount of these costs to factor in the federal Child Dependent Care Tax Credit.

Healthcare Costs

Provo child support attorneys from Buhler Thomas Law, P.C. say child support arrangements also state who must pay for a child’s health care insurance. The specific amount is added to the base child support arrangement and is credited to the parent paying for it.

Miscellaneous Expenses

The court may increase the basic child support arrangement to factor in other special expenses like the educational requirements of handicapped or special needs children. The court also considers visitation expenses. The non custodial parent receives the credit.

Other factors come into play when the court deliberates child support arrangements. Parents must ensure that the outcome is in the best interest of the child and will be beneficial and fair to everyone concerned.

When Do Child Support Payments End?

Child Support

Child SupportA common misconception that majority of people believe is that child support payments automatically stop when a child reaches 18 years old. However, child support laws are different from state to state, such that ending support and graduation don’t necessarily go together.

During a divorce in some states, the court can order a paying parent to provide child support until the child reaches 21 years old. Likewise, majority of states actually require paying parents to pay child support until a child’s high school graduation and in some instances, a child may already be well over 18 years old.

Child Support in Lump Sum

Child support is different from spousal support or alimony. In a lot of states, a waiver for seeking spousal support modification can be legally enforceable. However, a waiver for seeking child support modification is not, even in instances where the waiver was provided in place of a child support payment in lump sum.

Likewise, even if parents agree to a contract concerning child support lump sum payments, it is up to the judge to enforce the child support agreement or not.

Modifying Child Support

Life-changing events including a divorce, separation, injury, health issues, or job loss may warrant modification of a child support order. In this case, a parent can appeal to modify the child support agreement with the help of a St. George attorney. Modifying child support is a court order, and although it won’t immediately end the child support agreement, it will substantially increase or reduce the support payments a parent receives or provides.

Obtaining Legal Advice

Because child support orders don’t end immediately, a paying parent should request for the support payments to end when the child reaches 18 or 21, which is the age of majority in different states or in the event of emancipation.

If you have issues concerning child support orders, you must seek help from an attorney specializing in child support and family law, since every case is different and state laws can vary significantly.