Most divorce proceedings take place at a time when people are the most frustrated and angry with their former partner. The event is often contentious but it becomes even more so when alimony is a part of the negotiations. There are many reasons why someone wants or feels they deserve alimony and one large reason why someone would not want to pay. It is aggravating to many people to imagine a portion of their earnings going to someone they may feel was their biggest mistake.

Alimony laws are changing around the country to reflect modern society. It is always important for people to know all of the details about these types of agreements.  

Alimony is not just for women.

Initially, alimony was designed to protect women that were usually unemployed and at home with children throughout a marriage. Times have changed and stay-at-home dads and husbands are not unusual. Either partner that sacrificed their careers and earnings to meet the needs of the family are potentially eligible to receive alimony. 

New laws are placing time limits on payments.

Many states have already changed their laws or are in the process of considering legislation to adjust alimony regulations. One of the most impactful changes is the time limit. In most cases, the limit is for half of the time of the marriage. For example, someone could collect for only two years if the marriage lasted 4 years. 

Alimony is not automatic even when the spouse did sacrifice for the marriage. 

Judges take many things into consideration when they decide on alimony. This includes the ability of one spouse to pay and the ability of the recipient to support themselves. Someone earning a small income that was in a short-term, childless marriage with a spouse that had employment experience prior to a marriage and holds a degree is not likely to be required to pay alimony. The court does expect both spouses to have some responsibility for meeting their own needs. 

There are ways to save money when ordered to pay.

A willingness to make a lump sum payment may encourage a spouse to accept less. Saving is possible even when monthly payments are made through tax deductions. It is also possible to return to court to have the order modified if the recipient spouse obtains employment or receives a large raise or the paying spouse has a reduction in their earnings. 

Death is the end of payments—sometimes. 

Alimony payments end when the payer passes away, but there are some exceptions. Some states allow the judge to order the paying spouse to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy specifically to cover their alimony obligation. 

During a divorce agreement, the parties (or the judge) will determine the number of payments and how they will be paid. There are three basic options that include a lump sum, monthly payments without an end date and a limited amount of payments. Temporary payments are often based on when children will reach legal age or when the recipient spouse would be done receiving a degree or expected to be able to support their own needs.

Recipients of alimony payments need to keep in mind that remarriage will end their payments and that all money received through alimony is taxable. Services like Hackworth Law can help you learn more.