Rochester Spousal Support Lawyer Explains Everything You Should Know About Alimony and Spousal Support
Divorce proceedings that involve minor children often include the need to pay alimony, which is also commonly referred to as spousal support. Alimony and spousal support are essentially the same things. These cases are often very stressful and can be hotly debated, particularly in divorces that end up being complex, non-amicable, and emotional. If you’re going through a divorce, don’t worry yet. Alimony isn’t always awarded by family court judges, however, there is a good chance if you have minor children you will need to pay some sort of alimony or spousal support under certain circumstances. An experienced Rochester spousal support lawyer can help you navigate the process.
What is alimony?
During or after a divorce, it is sometimes ordered by a family court judge that one spouse pay alimony or spousal support to the other. This payment can be made in a lump sum or in ongoing monthly alimony payments. There are typically two different types of alimony.
The first is called post-separation spousal support and lasts only while the divorce is ongoing. Upon finalization of the divorce proceedings, post-separation spousal support will come to an end.
There are also ongoing alimony payments which are ordered by the judge to be paid monthly for a determined length of time.
When do you need to pay alimony?
Alimony or spousal support usually isn’t awarded in situations where both spouses are full-time employees and make similar incomes. But in cases where one spouse was a stay-at-home parent tasked with taking care of the children, awarding of alimony is common. In this circumstance, the spouse in question may have forgone decisions to seek employment, training, or education in order to take care of the children. This could prevent them from obtaining gainful employment after the divorce proceedings and may be grounds on which to reward them spousal support. Typically, some factors that are included in decisions regarding spousal support are:
- Each spouse’s independent earning capacity
- Marital misconduct on behalf of either spouse
- The age of the spouses
- Any unearned income of each spouse individually, such as medical benefits, insurance benefits, wages, and dividends
- The length of the marriage
- The emotional and mental state of each of the spouses
- Debt liabilities and assets of each spouse
- The needs of each spouse
- A spouse’s contribution to being a homemaker or staying home to take care of children
- Property that was brought to the marriage by either spouse
- Contributions made to one spouse by the other regarding increased earning power, job skills, or education.
As you can see, there are many factors that determine how alimony is calculated and how long the alimony is expected to be paid for. There is no rigid schedule or guideline when it comes to determining how alimony will be determined, as there is in many cases with child support. A judge will determine alimony based on unique factors and the individual circumstances of the case. Because there are so many different things that can play into determining alimony, there really isn’t a set formula. Long story short, judges have quite a lot of discretion when it comes to who pays alimony or spousal support, and how much they pay. If you are planning on seeking alimony, getting representation from a Rochester spousal support lawyer can significantly help to strengthen your case.
What constitutes marital misconduct?
You may have noticed in the above paragraph that marital misconduct was mentioned as one of the factors considered in cases of alimony or spousal support. So, you may be wondering what exactly constitutes marital misconduct? And moreover, how does marital misconduct affect alimony cases? Judges have discretion, and it is at that judge’s discretion that they may decide not to award spousal support to a spouse who engaged in instances of marital misconduct. Marital misconduct generally covers quite a wide range of circumstances. These can include excessive alcohol or drug abuse, adultery, spending large amounts of marital funds during separation processes, and abandonment.
A judge may also determine that a spouse will need to pay higher monthly alimony payments if they have been found guilty of committing adultery. They can also require that alimony be paid for a longer overall length of time in these circumstances. This works the other way around too, in that a judge can also prevent the lower-earning spouse from receiving spousal support if they were the one who committed adultery. When it comes to adultery, there is no space for contradictions. A higher-earning spouse cannot bar a lower-earning spouse from trying to receive alimony on the grounds of adultery if the higher-earning spouse also committed adultery.
Because alimony or spousal support is so complex to calculate and there are so many discretionary factors that can contribute to whether or not a spouse will be awarded alimony, it is typically in your best interest to seek the assistance of a Rochester spousal support lawyer. A lawyer will have the expertise and knowledge necessary to review your case and all of the presented evidence in order to sufficiently advocate for your rights while undergoing the alimony process. It’s advisable to contact a Rochester spousal support lawyer both if you intend to seek alimony, and if you are trying to bar your spouse from recovering alimony.
Schedule A Free Consultation With Our Rochester Spousal Support Lawyer
Do you have questions about spousal support? Are you dealing with an ongoing alimony case and require legal representation? If so, Rochester spousal support lawyer Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm has over 20 years of experience dealing with spousal support cases. Call us today, for a free consultation.
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