If you're in the process of getting a divorce, it is crucial that you consult a spousal support lawyer. Whether you are planning on demanding spousal support or anticipate that you'll have to pay for it, there are some important things that you need to be aware of.
Your family law attorney can give you an overview of the situation, but a spousal support lawyer will provide you with thorough details about the whole procedure. They will also guide you about the tax laws, payment of spousal support, and the aftermath of failing to pay spousal support.
Read on to learn why you should consult a Dallas spousal support lawyer and how they can help you.
Everything You Need to Know About Spousal Support
More commonly known as alimony, spousal support is a form of financial security for people who are legally married. The rules regarding spousal support can vary heavily from one state to another. However, the basic idea is to acknowledge the financially dependent partner's contribution to the marriage and provide assistance until they are able to become financially independent.
How is the Alimony Decided?
When a case regarding spousal support is presented in court, a lot of different factors are taken into consideration. The length of the marriage, spousal age, the needs and contributions of each partner, the standard of living prior to the divorce, acquired assets, custody situation of the kids (if any), cause of separation, prenuptial agreements, and many other things are taken into account before deciding whether the partner is eligible for alimony.
Once a partner is deemed eligible for spousal support, the judge will decide on the amount while still keeping the above factors into account. Whether you are paying or receiving the alimony, your attorney can dispute the amount if there are valid reasons to do so.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?
There aren't any strict laws regarding the length of time for spousal support payments. For marriages shorter than 10 years, the length is generally the time of the marriage. So if a couple was married for 8 years, the spousal support would be paid for around 4 years. For longer marriages, the court will take other factors into consideration while determining the length of spousal support.
Either way, the attorneys of both parties will be allowed to present their arguments regarding the length of the payment. After the judge reviews the argument of both sides, they will decide on the duration of spousal support.
The court may mandate continued spousal support payments if one of the spouses is particularly vulnerable due to age, illness, or disability. In such cases, spousal support payments must continue until the court rules otherwise, even if a timeframe for support is not designated.
However, in case the receiving person remarries, they typically lose any following alimony payments. Spousal support may also end at the death of the payer, but this isn’t always the case. In case the court determines that the spouse receiving assistance is unable to work owing to age or illness, they may be entitled to financial support from the payer's estate or life insurance policy.
How Can Prenuptial Agreements Help?
Some people choose to sign a prenuptial agreement before they get married, which can be useful in the event of a divorce. More often than not, a divorce is emotionally and physically taxing. While a prenuptial agreement may not be useful in tackling the emotional trauma that comes with the divorce, it can protect both parties from any financial discord.
Bringing up the conversation about a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé can be awkward and uncomfortable. However, it is a necessary conversation that should take place before you sign the marriage contract.
It is a legally binding contract in which you and your partner can agree upon the division of assets in case of a divorce. Other financial issues can also be covered in the contract, including debts you both took individually and as a couple, alimony payments, child support, etc.
Before getting married, both partners are required to provide a complete inventory of their assets, debts, and any other information regarding their finances. This is crucial since failing to do so can cause issues in the future, especially for the partner who concealed any information about their financial assets.
If you had signed a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, determining the spousal support would be much easier.
What You Need to Know About Spousal Support Payment Adjustments
With rare exceptions for cost-of-living adjustments, the amount remains the same from one year to the next in general. Additionally, ex-spouses are not entitled to an increase in support just because their former partner's taxable income or job bonuses increase significantly. However, the payment often grows in the case of child support.
On the contrary, if the supporting spouse's income suddenly drops so much that they can no longer afford alimony, the supporting spouse can ask the court to lower their alimony payment. Alimony reductions based on tax returns may or may not be approved by the family court judge.
Consult a Spousal Support Lawyer Today
Alimony is a topic that frequently arises throughout divorce proceedings, irrespective of whether they end in an amicable settlement or go to trial. If you need help with spousal support, it is recommended that you consult a spousal support lawyer who specializes in family law.
Divorce can be taxing on a person's finances. Therefore, alimony can be helpful in making the transition back to single life. On the other hand, if you are liable to pay alimony, you will need to safeguard yourself from paying unnecessary amounts.
Consult a spousal attorney at Hutson Law today to learn more about your rights and obligations, including the possibility of alimony payments or receipts. We will guide you to find a solution, analyze every detail, and evaluate your options in detail.