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Process Overview

Process Overview

Like any legal issue involving a divorce, the process of requesting alimony payments from a spouse can take a long time. While there are steps individuals can take to make the process smoother, an individual should know what will be happening during their divorce process in court.

Being prepared for the oncoming issues that may arise can help an individual who is trying to navigate the process of receiving alimony. This can also apply to an individual who is trying to avoid alimony payments. Alimony guidelines may work in favor of either spouse, depending on the situation.

Interim Support During Litigation:

The alimony that a spouse might be entitled to as the divorce proceedings go one is know as interim support. It is also called temporary alimony. In modern times, this is the most common type of alimony that one will be entitled to. Litigation to settle a divorce may take a long time. Interim support is usually only applicable for a period of two years, although most divorces do not take that long to settle. The amount of interim support that one is entitled to is determined by a separation agreement between the two spouses.

The separation agreement can be made by the spouses. If they do not, a judge in family court will make a separation agreement specifying how much interim support a spouse is entitled to during litigation. These temporary payments end when the divorce is completed. Then, new payments may replace the temporary ones or the payments will stop completely.

Post Marital Alimony Request:

A request for alimony was standard in the past, when women were not expected to support themselves before, during or after a marriage. Now, either spouse can request alimony after a marriage has ended. There is no guarantee that a spouse will be entitled to alimony payments. Depending on the marital circumstances, it may be unlikely for an individual to be awarded alimony. If a spouse wants to request alimony, they must file a motion in family court while the divorce proceedings are occurring.

A spouse is also entitled to file for alimony payments after the marriage is over. The spouse can request one of several different types of alimony including permanent or rehabilitative alimony. A judge is more likely to award rehabilitative payments in order to allow a spouse to strive for financial success and comfort. Permanent alimony is often requested by spouses that have relied on the other for a long period of time.

Court's Decision:

The decision of whether or not a spouse should receive alimony is completely up to the court if the spouses do not agree on a settlement. Each court may make a different decision regarding alimony. This is one reason why many people fight for alimony reform. There is no set standard of rules that the court must follow when making a decision, although there are guidelines.

A court will look at the marital situation to determine whether or not a spouse should be entitled to alimony payments. If the marriage was a long one in which one spouse depended on the other financially, it is likely that the dependent spouse will be entitled to alimony. Any decision to award alimony is at the discretion of the court. Laws involving divorce and alimony change drastically from state to state. Each judge is entitled to interpret the case and make decision as they see fit, as long as they do not award or deny alimony based on gender.

Court's Reluctance to Change Agreements:

There are many reasons why either spouse would seek a modified alimony agreement. However, although there may be good reason, the courts do not usually like to modify alimony payments. If the courts do decide to modify payment, then they will have to review the entire case again, along with any evidence that is submitted. Since the court may have a difficult time deciding on an original alimony agreement, reopening the case can be even harder, depending on the new evidence presented.

The recipient may request an increase in alimony payments due to extra financial trouble or increased cost of living. The spouse who pays alimony might request that the alimony payments be lowered for the same reasons. A court is reluctant change an alimony agreement because of the potential problems that the change might bring to either spouse.

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