Alimony is a form of financial support one former spouse pays to the other. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support and is awarded based on the need of the recipient spouse and the ability to pay of the paying spouse. Alimony may also ne awarded if one spouse supported the other through graduate or professional school.
The different types of alimony
There are generally two types of alimony including lump sum alimony and periodic alimony. Lump sum alimony is a fixed dollar amount one former spouse needs to pay to the other in a single payment or over a period of time. This type of alimony is not subject to modification and death or remarriage of either spouse does not impact it.
Periodic payment alimony includes payments paid over time. Periodic alimony can be modified and if either spouses dies or the recipient spouse remarries or co-habitates with someone else, the alimony may end.
How the amount of alimony is determined
Whether the family law court awards lump sum or periodic alimony, the amount of alimony needs to be determined. The family law court will consider several factors when determining alimony including the health of both spouses; the earning capacities of both spouses; all sources of income of both spouses; the reasonable needs of the recipient spouse and children; the necessary living expenses of the paying spouse; and the estimated income taxes each spouse pays.
When determining the type and amount of alimony, the family law court will seek as much as possible to maintain the same standard of living for the spouses that they enjoyed when married. Alimony requests during the divorce process can be complex and may create controversy, which is why divorcing spouses should be familiar with how alimony is determined.