We will help you get through a divorce by giving you the legal advice and representation you need. One of the most frequently asked questions we get involves exactly how alimony works.
What is alimony?
Alimony is money that one spouse pays to the other to cover living costs and expenses while separated, and/or after the divorce is final. Traditionally, alimony was paid to women in monthly installments and was permanent in nature (or until the wife remarried). Now, alimony is more likely to be to be paid over specific time period or in a lump sum.
The different types of Alimony?
- Permanent Alimony — Periodic payments for an unlimited period of time. The duty to continue to make the payments automatically terminates at the death of either party or remarriage of the payee. It can be modified based on a material change in circumstances. If entitled to periodic alimony, the spouse is entitled to an amount that is commensurate with the standard of living to which the spouse had become accustomed to while being measured against the ability to pay.
- Lump Sum — A fixed amount used to bring closure to the economic relationship between the spouses. The Courts will look at various factors in awarding a lump sum payment, including whether or not the spouse substantially contributed to the accumulation of wealth by working inside or outside the home. Lump sum alimony cannot be modified based on material changes in circumstance, instead lump sum alimony may only be modified in cases of fraud
- Rehabilitative Alimony — A short term payment during a specified job training period. Rehabilitative alimony has a fixed ending date. Rehabilitative alimony cannot be modified due to material changes in circumstance. However, rehabilitative alimony may be extended and can be modified to permanent alimony based upon material change in circumstance.
- Reimbursement Alimony — An award to a spouse who supported the other spouse through school and whose contribution cannot be recognized by the division of the marital assets. Payment is lump sum in nature and is not modifiable. Types of reimbursement include direct educational costs.
How is alimony determined?
The trial judge has discretion in regard to both the amount of alimony to award and the time period for the payments. The factors that are considered when an alimony determination are known as the Armstrong Factors. These factors are:
- Income and expenses
- Health and earning capacity;
- Needs of each party;
- Obligations and assets of each party;
- Length of marriage;
- Minor children and child care;
- Standard of living during the marriage;
- Tax consequences;
- Fault or misconduct;
- Dissipation of assets by either party; and,
- Any other equitable factors.
We have experience representing divorce clients throughout Mississippi. Contact us online or call our office locally at 601-957-3101 to discuss your specific situation.