Alimony is one of the least understood aspects of a divorce. Alimony is a payment from one spouse (or ex-spouse) to the other, when a financial need exists. This payment is to maintain the receiving spouse in the “manner in which they had grown accustomed” during the course of the marriage. However, alimony is not a punishment to be awarded by the Court, nor is it an absolute in all situations.
Alimony is governed by the Court and the considerations are outlined in the case of Armstrong. These Armstrong factors are considered and reviewed after the Court conducts Equitable Distribution (click), and only if the Court determines one party would be left with a deficit. Then the Court considers the facts specific to your case and then a determination is made as to whether alimony is to be awarded, how much, and how long it is to be paid. The factors include;
1. The income and expenses of the parties;
2. The health and earning capacities of the parties;
3. The needs of each party;
4. The obligations and assets of each party;
5. The length of the marriage;
6. The presence or absence of minor children in the home, which may require that one or both of the parties either pay, or personally provide, child care;
7. The age of the parties;
8. The standard of living of the parties, both during the marriage and at the time of the support determination;
9. The tax consequences of the spousal support order;
10. Fault or misconduct;
11. Wasteful dissipation of assets by either party; or
12. Any other factor deemed by the court to be “just and equitable” in connection with the setting of spousal support.
Armstrong v. Armstrong, 618 So. 2d 1278, 1280 (Miss. 1993).
Within Alimony there are 3 basic types;
- Permanent (or Periodic)- Forever! Until death or remarraige, usually deductible and modifiable.
- Rehabilitative – limited in time and amount. May be subject to taxes and may be modified depending on specific language.
- Lump Sum – “Guaranteed” can be in one lump or in installments, non-modifiable and non-taxable.
A brief discussion of each “type” of alimony will be posted in the future and linked back to this article.
So what is Palimony?
- Palimony– alimony when the parties lived together, but were not married. Can’t do it in Mississippi.
What about Baloney?
- Baloney- A Spouse at fault can’t get Alimony? Not TRUE, it is possible. The Court will conduct an Armstrong Analysis.
- A Husband can’t get alimony? Not TRUE, it is possible. It would be unconstitutional to discriminate based on gender.
- Must be married for at least 10 years? Nope. The longer the marriage the better, but it’s possible to get some types of alimony even in short marriages.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi. Questions about Alimony? Call? Questions about Baloney? Don’t.
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