Is Mississippi an Alimony state? Yes. Well then, can the man get Alimony? It’s possible!
Alimony considerations provide that Chancery Courts are vested with broad authority to provide for the material needs of the spouses incident to divorce. Hubbard v. Hubbard, 656 So.2d 124, 129 (Miss. 1995). “If there are sufficient marital assets which, when equitably divided and considered with each spouse’s non-marital assets, will adequately provide for both parties, no more need to be done.” Johnson v. Johnson, 650 So.2d 1281, 1287 (Miss. 1994). In other words, alimony should only be considered if equitable distribution “leaves a deficit for one party.” Johnson, 650 So.2d at 1287 (Miss. 1994).
A Husband may make a claim for alimony.
Armstrong v. Armstrong, 618 So.2d 1278, 1280 (Miss.1993), sets out a number of factors for the court to consider in determining whether to award alimony. Additionally, there are four types of alimony: (a) periodic, (b) rehabilitative, (c) lump sum, and (d) reimbursement. When there is no marital property to divide upon divorce, the court looks to Armstrong to determine whether or not an award of periodic alimony is warranted. Ethridge v. Ethridge, 648 So.2d 1143 (Miss. 1995).
1) The first factor is the income and expenses of the parties. When there is a great disparity in the earning capacity and incomes of the parties it could support an award of Alimony.
2) The second factor is the health and earning capacities of the parties. This considers physical and mental health, as well as earning capacity, to include degrees, etc…
3) Third, the court is to consider the needs of each party. The living expenses.
4) Fourth, the court is to consider the obligations and assets of the parties. Is the marital estate encumbered by a significant debt? Is a party living off his credit card?
5) The fifth factor to consider is the length of the marriage. Less than 10 years is not long. 20 years and over is long. Between 10-20 is the gray area. Of course, it’s all gray and it’s possible to get alimony in very short marriages and not get it in very long marriages.
6) The sixth factor is the presence or absence of minor children in the home.
7) The seventh factor is the age of the parties. Think years left for gainful employment and to live…
8) The eighth factor is the parties’ standard of living, both during the marriage and at the time of the support determination. Have the Parties enjoyed a relatively high standard of living in comparison to most? Allowing them to take trips, to purchase recreational vehicles, to purchase a half a million dollar home in the suburbs, to send their children to private school, and have not had to be concerned about money or curb their spending during times when husband was not working?
9) The ninth factor to consider is the tax consequences of the spousal support. Alimony payments, normally,would be taxable income to the receiver and deductible to the payor, allowing her to receive a tax benefit in the reduction of her taxable income for the duration of the support payments. It’s also possible to make it non-taxable, depending upon the duration of the payments and whether same is owed in the event the payor dies.
10) The tenth factor is fault or misconduct. Fault grounds; adultery, cruelty, etc…
11) The eleventh factor is wasteful dissipation of assets by either party. Booze, drugs, or gambling spending.
12) The final factor for the court’s consideration is any other factor deemed by the court to be “just and equitable” in connection with the setting of spousal support. So any other compelling reason in favor of alimony.
After weighing each of the factors set forth in Armstrong v. Armstrong, 618 So.2d 1278, 1280 (Miss. 1993), and viewing the totality of the circumstances, the court will find whether an award of alimony is warranted.
Matthew Thompson is an Alimony Attorney in Mississippi and has represented the man who received Alimony.