Alimony - Frequently Asked Questions

Alimony is a legal obligation of one spouse to make monetary contributions to the other spouse when separation or divorce occurs.  There are many reasons why a spouse may be required to pay alimony, although it is entirely dependant upon the individual case and the judge overseeing it.  Below are some of the most common frequently asked questions about alimony along with helpful and informative answers.

Q. Is alimony always ordered when one spouse has supported another through school or in order to obtain a higher financial status through training, schooling or other systems?

A. In short, no – alimony is not always ordered.  However, this situation creates a basis for the spouse who supported their partner through schooling to ask for alimony.  This is especially true if the spouse who earned a degree or training certificate now makes a higher income than the supporting spouse.  Since the schooling, degree or training was acquired during the marriage, the judge will most likely consider ordering alimony for a case like this.

Q. My spouse’s income has increased since he was ordered to pay alimony.  Am I able to get my alimony amount raised now?

A. Whether or not you could get your alimony payment raised would depend on several factors.  Since alimony is typically representative of the events which occurred in the marriage, the fact that your spouse is earning a higher income now many not even be considered.  However, this is not always the case.

If for some reason, the sacrificing you did during the marriage is somehow directly responsible for the extra money your spouse is earning – there is a chance that you could get the payment raised.  Also, in some cases a judge will expect to raise alimony in the future, such as when a supporting spouse has helped their partner through school or training and the resulting income was not reflected yet.  This could be because the spouse hasn’t quite finished schooling or something similar.  In a case like this, you may be able to get alimony modification when your ex-spouse begins earning a higher amount because of the schooling or training you helped him or her through.

Q. Will my alimony payments end if I move in with a new boyfriend?

A. In most cases, alimony payments do end because of cohabitation.  However, this is dependant upon the laws and statutes in your state as well as your alimony decree.  In some places, alimony will end if the person receiving the payments begins living with someone of the opposite sex.  However, other states require proof that the person receiving the alimony is actually being supported by the person they live with.

Although there are many different factors which contribute to a judge’s decisions regarding alimony payments, there are usually trends which allow one to expect certain decisions regarding alimony.  The above alimony FAQ’s explain most common trends when it comes to judges’ decisions about alimony and situations surrounding it.

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