Guide to Finding Alimony Lawyer
Do I need an Alimony Lawyer?
Alimony—which is also referred to as spousal support—denotes the legal obligation to provide financial assistance, from one spouse to another, after martial separation or divorce. Alimony payments are established by family or divorce law and are primarily based on the premise that both spouses have a legal obligation to support each other throughout the duration of their marriage or civil union until dissolution.
Once your marriage is dissolved, you or your ex-spouse may seek interim or permanent support during the course of the litigation. Where dissolution of marriage is confirmed, either party may ask for post-marital alimony payments. That being said, these payments are not an absolute right; however, they may be granted to a spouse under circumstances deemed necessary by the underlying court system. The amounts and frequency of alimony payments are determined by the presiding courts.
Unless you and your ex-spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce in a binding written agreement, the presiding court will make a determination based on the legal testimony and argument submitted by you and your spouse before the court. In the U.S., individual states will establish their own requirements regarding alimony payments, as well as their associated recovery constraints and penalties. For example, if your spouse attempts to recover back alimony a state’s particular laws will regulate the availability and action of these collection procedures. If you are deemed responsible to provide alimony to your spouse and your obligation goes into arrears, you may be found in contempt of court and be sent to jail.
Because of these complexities and the harsh penalties attached, it is essential to hire an alimony lawyer if you are involved in such matters following dissolution of marriage. The multifarious nature of alimony laws–combined with the penalties and emotional backlash that is often present during these disputes—illuminates on the necessity of hiring an alimony lawyer.
Unlike other civil trials (particularly those that involve personal injury claims) the inclusion of an alimony lawyer is somewhat straightforward—you will need to hire an alimony lawyer if you or your spouse requests alimony payments.
Do I need a Specialist?
The majority of states in the U.S. award alimony to the lesser-earning or unemployed spouse. Although alimony laws vary by state, the majority of jurisdictions evaluate a few variables to calculate alimony. In general, when a spouse is eligible for alimony, a divorce or family court judge will determine how much the spouse is to paid and for how long, based on the following factors:
• The cost of the spouse’s basic needs, including his or her food, clothing and shelter
• The paying spouse’s disposable income—how much does the individual make per month?
• The income level of the two spouses
• The ability of the spouses to work and find work—do the spouses have the education or skills needed to pursuit and subsequently secure employment.
In addition to these variables, there are three different types of alimony: temporary, permanent and rehabilitative. Temporary alimony may be granted during the divorce proceedings or pending dissolution. This form of alimony continues until it is terminated by law or dissolved by the agreement. Permanent, or periodic alimony, requires one spouse to pay the other after the divorce is finalized. The payments will continue until the receiving spouse remarries or the paying spouse dies. Rehabilitative alimony is paid to help the receiving spouse become self-sufficient; this form of alimony is typically offered until the receiving party reaches a defined event or goal, such as a graduation.
Although these forms of alimony and the variables attached complicate the legal process, the requirement of a specialized alimony lawyer is not necessary. Alimony lawyers are aligned with family law; these legal professionals will be adept at filing alimony payments or arguing against a court’s ruling. That being said, an alimony lawyer is somewhat limited in his or her ability to secure or terminate alimony payments. Because the courts–and the presiding judge–ultimately establish and affirm alimony based-on the spouse’s income and other tangible statistics, an alimony lawyer is restricted in his or her ability to greatly alter these rulings.
The most significant benefit offered by an alimony lawyer is found in the individual’s ability to open lines of communications and engage in alternative dispute resolutions. Often times