Alimony is not the same for every divorce, and not all divorces result in alimony.
Maintenance or spousal maintenance is also known as maintenance. This is a payment made by the higher-income spouse in the divorce decree. However, the spousal support granted is not always permanent. Sometimes it is only temporary until the divorce is resolved.
If two spouses cannot come to an agreement or cannot agree on the duration of the maintenance payment, a formal application is made to the court. A judge has to decide here.
When is maintenance granted?
Divorced couples sometimes have unequal incomes, and child support payments are designed to make up for them. It is up to a judge to determine whether a spouse has greater financial needs or whether one of the two can provide alimony. In the case of a short marriage, the spouse is usually not granted maintenance.
How do the courts decide on the maintenance amount?
There are three things a judge will consider before deciding on a maintenance amount:
- The amount that any person can reasonably earn.
- What are the reasonable expenses for each person.
- Whether the amount granted will allow the person to maintain the standard of living to which they have become accustomed during the marriage.
- What career prospects does the spouse seeking support have?
- If the marital standard of living cannot be maintained, the judge must ensure that the financial burden is evenly distributed.
An example: A husband filing for divorce with a salary of $ 5,000 has a home wife with three young children and no income. If the state formula entitles the woman to $ 1,650 monthly maintenance but wants $ 2,300, she must convince the judge that her basic monthly needs, including house payments, are this high. The judge will determine if her spouse can afford it, and if so, she may be awarded an additional $ 650 spousal support.
A judge examines the earning capacity of the economically inactive spouse, this is also referred to as earning potential.
An example: If the spouse who is not gainfully employed is a doctor who has taken time off to bring up the children and promote the other spouse, he or she will be offered initial care until he returns to work. This may not be long term, but temporary.
Sometimes a spouse is found to be underemployed by the courts, which may be deliberate. Sometimes the judge will calculate the maintenance amount based on their potential income rather than the amount they are currently earning. This is known as crediting income towards support.
An example: A doctor who works in a big city has a potential income of $ 200,000 a year but decides to practice in a smaller city, where the potential annual income is only $ 90,000. The judge can credit the income based on the higher income, unless the person can prove why they changed jobs.
Where are savings in living standards included?
Arguing about maintaining the standard of living is not always easy, especially when it comes to saving. In California, Virginia, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, savings accounts are considered part of the standard of living. The same does not apply to Hawaii and Florida.
Understand how the upkeep works
The most common maintenance payments are paid monthly, but sometimes also in the form of a lump sum.
Lump-sum maintenance payments cannot be terminated or changed later, while the monthly maintenance payment can change if the supported spouse remarries or is cohabiting, one of the spouses dies, or some other significant event occurs (this can include the supported spouse starting a high-income job Spouses include or retirement of paying spouse).
How are maintenance payments enforced?
As soon as a divorce warrant is signed by a judge, the maintenance begins. A spouse who refuses to make maintenance payments on the due date will be brought to court and the assisted spouse can file an application. A hearing is supposed to determine the reason for the non-payment of alimony, missed alimony payments have penalties and fines. The court may order retrospective payments to make up for the missed maintenance payments.
Legal Scoops’ senior editor Jacob Maslow has founded several online newspapers, including the Daily Forex Report and Conservative Free Press