The legal issue of alimony and spousal support is not as straightforward as it may seem. As a broad legal area, family law touches on a variety of different issues, including constitutional law, tax law and real estate.
The purpose of alimony and/or spousal support is to limit the economic impact of divorce by helping an ex-wife or husband maintain a lifestyle that is reasonably comparable to the lifestyle they enjoyed during marriage. However, unlike child support payments, alimony is not automatic or guaranteed. Rather, it is an issue that a judge must evaluate and decide upon after reviewing the specific circumstances of the case.
A judge has many factors to consider when awarding alimony, such as the length of the marriage, the financial situation of each party, the age and health of each spouse, the earning potential of both parties (past and future), and the sources of income for both parties. The court also takes into account any history of domestic violence or other misconduct on the part of either party.
Whether to award alimony and for how long it should be paid is an important decision for every divorcing couple. A number of states have adopted guidelines or worksheets that help judges determine alimony amounts based on various considerations. For example, in New York, the court can order lump-sum alimony or a regular monthly payment. In general, the judge will also create an income withholding order to ensure that payments are made promptly each month. If the paying spouse fails to make payments, the supported spouse can file a complaint with the court and request assistance in collecting past-due alimony.
Most alimony is temporary, and the duration will depend on the circumstances. For instance, short-term alimony may be awarded while the dependent spouse searches for a job or takes courses to bring his or her skillset up to speed for employment. Long-term alimony is usually reserved for those spouses who have been out of the workforce for a long time and have not been able to accumulate substantial assets or earnings. The judge will review the case regularly to see if the recipient spouse is making progress toward being self-sufficient.
Spousal support terminates at the death of the payer or the remarriage of the supported spouse. However, if the spouse receiving alimony is unlikely to ever be able to obtain gainful employment because of old age or severe health conditions, the court may award permanent alimony. In addition, some courts will award a lump sum of permanent alimony at the end of the marriage, if that is deemed appropriate by the court.
As with most family law matters, the details are often complicated and may differ between jurisdictions. A knowledgeable family lawyer can help clients understand the law, navigate the process and achieve the best outcome possible. In addition, the recent Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage has led some jurisdictions to adopt laws that allow for same-sex couples to get divorced just like heterosexual couples.
When facing a divorce in Miami, hiring a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney is crucial to achieving a smooth and favorable outcome. Their expertise, tailored legal strategies, and support will guide you through the complexities of family law while safeguarding your rights and interests. Take the time to research and find a Miami divorce attorney who specializes in divorce cases, possesses relevant experience, and aligns with your needs and goals. By making this investment, you can embark on your divorce journey with confidence and peace of mind.