Your financial relationship with your ex often continues after your marital relationship ends. As well as the issue of child support, if you have a child or children together, one divorcee may be required to pay alimony to their former spouse.
What exactly is alimony?
Alimony is money / funds that the Court orders one spouse to pay the other after the marriage ends. Payment can be in the form of a single lump sum or continuing, periodic payments.
How long should alimony last?
If the Court orders a lump sum payment, the paying spouse only needs to make that single payment as a one off.
However, if the Court orders continuing alimony, the payments will generally continue periodically. Unless a specific end date is identified, they could continue until the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse, or until a sufficient change in material circumstances occurs that warrants ending the alimony requirement.
How does the Court decide alimony?
The Court decides alimony based on similar factors that go into deciding an appropriate division of marital property. A key considerations is the relative ability of each party to support themselves and potentially the other party.
As a general rule, a spouse will not be required to pay both alimony and child support from the same income. A spouse will usually pay child support from the first part of their income. Alimony will be paid out of the remaining, residual income. But, bear in mind, this is a general rule only. The actual determination can differ depending on the circumstances. In particular, child support will be lower or none where the potential “paying parent” has a greater share of physical custody.
When can the periodic payment amount be changed?
Changing alimony can be a very technical legal issue. The main considerations are whether the spouses intended for alimony to be adjusted in the future, whether the order was set by agreement or by a Judgment of the Court, and whether a sufficient change in material circumstances has occurred.