What to Do Next After Alimony

What to Do Next After Alimony | Paducah Divorce Lawyers

Check this page if you need clarification or advice on what to do if alimony has been ordered. Don’t hesitate to contact our Divorce Laywers in Paducha, KY if that’s the case.

What is Alimony?

Alimony payments may be required when one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other during a divorce.

The amount of alimony awarded depends not only on the income disparity but also on the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, the needs of the receiving spouse, and the resources of the paying spouse.

An attorney can help you understand the many statutory factors determining the duration and amount of alimony.

But individually, knowing what alimony is NOT when considering your options can be helpful:

  • It is not the purpose of alimony to restore financial parity after a divorce. Instead, it’s more commonly used to ensure that both partners can provide for their basic needs.
  • Wives of any gender can receive spousal Support. 
  • Most states have updated their divorce laws to be more gender neutral, and as a result, some women are now required to pay alimony to their ex-husbands.

While some states may refer to alimony in different ways, and others may have additional variations, there are generally three types of alimony:

  • Temporary Alimony (lasts until the divorce is final)
  • Rehabilitative Support (meant to help recipients until they can support themselves)
  • Permanent Support (continuous)

Although “permanent” alimony is often used to describe spousal support awarded as part of a divorce decree, it typically does not last for the rest of the recipient’s life. Proper permanent alimony is typically only awarded in extreme cases, such as when one spouse has been out of the workforce for a long time due to age or disability.

The only people who get rehabilitative alimony are the ones whose careers and education suffered while caring for children and the home. For instance, the likelihood of receiving alimony from a judge decreases significantly if the marriage lasts less than two years. In some states, alimony awards are only possible after a certain number of weddings.

How Does It Work?

Alimony payments are typically made on a regular schedule, such as once a month for a set amount. It is not uncommon for a judge to order one spouse to make a one-time monetary or property transfer to the other as maintenance, outside of the normal process of dividing the couple’s marital property.

You can’t take back a spousal support order once it’s been made. 

However, unless the original court order (or agreement) states that alimony payments are “nonmodifiable,” the recipient may petition the court to modify or terminate the payments at any time. A substantial change in circumstances, such as the supporting spouse’s retirement or the acquisition of a high-paying job, may be sufficient to convince the court to modify or terminate maintenance.

In the event of the supported spouse’s remarriage or the death of either party, periodic alimony ends immediately. Other situations, such as the supported spouse moving in with a partner, may result in the termination of alimony or the justification of a reduction in payments if they significantly affect the recipient’s need for support, depending on the law in your state.

To get spousal support, you must ask for it in your divorce petition or answer your spouse’s petition. If you and your spouse can’t agree, you can ask the court to rule on the matter by filing a formal motion (request). During the hearing, attorneys for both parties will have an opportunity to present their arguments and supporting evidence to the judge. The judge will issue an order after hearing both sides’ arguments and reviewing the evidence.

Neither party may return to court and request alimony after the divorce has been finalized if neither party initially requested or the court did not order alimony.

When is Alimony ‘Enforced’?

You can ask the judge to enforce the alimony orders if your ex-spouse isn’t paying the spousal support payments that the court ordered. The same holds when a settlement between you and your ex-spouse is included in a final divorce decree or other legal order. If your ex-spouse isn’t complying with a court order, you can ask the court to enforce it by filing a “show cause” action (motion) and attending a scheduled hearing.

A deadbeat spouse who refuses to pay alimony may be subject to fines and penalties if the couple’s family court decides to enforce the order. The court can also order one spouse to make up for past due alimony payments.