Monday, December 9, 2019

Understanding Alimony And Palimony – What Does It Mean For You?

October 25, 2011  

In the event of a divorce or separation, one partner often compensates the other for the formerly shared aspects of their lives. Property, child rearing expenses, and differing income levels are all things commonly addressed at the termination of a relationship. Alimony, or spousal support, is a financial provision given to a spouse after a divorce to compensate for a significantly reduced income level. It should be noted, however, that this support is separate from money received in property settlements and child support.

When there is disagreement about the alimony between the parties involved, sometimes even in the separation of an unmarried couple (palimony), the law may then determine the proper financial settlement. The length and amount of this financial support depend on various factors, including state-specific laws which a judge may use to decide one’s obligation. So turning to a divorce lawyer for help can be quite beneficial for both partners.

Since alimony is deemed “rehabilitative” and ordered for only as long as the recipient needs to receive professional training or begin supporting him or herself, the duration of payment varies. One’s income and potential for gainful employment is the key factor here. But many other aspects are considered as well such as length of marriage, age, physical condition, emotional state, the presence of children, and ability of the payer spouse to support both the recipient and him or herself. Most settlements are awarded for a set period of time. The contract ends if the recipient chooses to remarry or passes away before this period has ended. In the event that the recipient is disabled or otherwise unable to be self supporting, the financial support may be for a lifetime.

Payments can be made in a couple of different ways. This makes a big difference on taxes, so the advice of an expert is highly recommended for both parties. Lump-sum alimony, also known as in gross alimony, refers to one fixed payment. This payment is generally provided regardless of what might otherwise be grounds for termination of a monthly alimony, as is the case with remarriage. Monthly awards would typically cease then, but a fixed payment may disregard this changed income status. Still, it is important to recognize that if you accept a lump sum alimony payment, you may be heavily taxed. A divorce attorney should be able to provide you with advice about the tax consequences of your decisions.

Many couples choose to cohabitate rather than marry, leaving palimony as their only option at the termination of a relationship. A plaintiff must prove some underlying basis for a claim, like an expressed or implied contract. An example would be when property has been purchased together and both names are listed on title. Though laws differ in each state, key factors to determine eligibility and amounts will include longevity of a relationship, written financial agreements, ability of a plaintiff to support him or herself, and sacrifices made my by one partner to support the other while earning a professional degree or taking care of children.

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