Delegating Alimony Terms During the Divorce Process

When two people enter a marriage, it is very unlikely that they have planned for divorce. The majority of couples seek matrimony for life, and can be devastated to find out that destiny had other plans for them. The process of divorce can be tricky, emotional and confusing. There may be a list of topics that the couple divorcing must delegate before the divorce can be finalized. If the couple is not able to reach an agreement on their own, a judge may then have the final say. The divorcing spouses may have to talk about child custody, alimony, and other divorce conditions, as a divorce attorney in Staten Island, NY, such as from Kleyman Law Firm, can explain. 

Here in the article below, we have answered a series of questions separating spouses may have about alimony. 

What is alimony exactly?

Alimony is when one spouse needs financial support from the other spouse, in order to maintain a quality of living similar to what was established during the divorce. If one spouse made a significant amount of money more than the other, the less-earning spouse may need help to afford rent, mortgage, bills, utilities and other debts. Alimony may also be referred to as “spousal support” or “maintenance.”

Does alimony start once the divorce has been finalized?

Whether a spouse can start receiving alimony before the divorce is complete may depend on your state laws. But in general, the spouse in need of financial support can request the court to be awarded temporary alimony while the divorce proceedings are still going on. Since the divorce process can be prolonged and grueling, financial support from one spouse may be needed sooner. 

Can the divorcing couple try mediation? 

Yes, the spouses who intend to divorce can try mediation before going to court over an issue they cannot agree upon. During mediation, a third party helps guide the conversation so both spouses can settle on a solution together. If this is not possible, then a judge may have to choose for them. Many divorcing couples may try mediation first, motivated by the fact that they can figure out disputes outside of the courtroom and thus save a significant amount of money in legal fees. 

What factors determine whether a spouse is awarded alimony or not?

Let’s say a couple tried mediation over alimony terms, but were not able to reach a resolution. A family judge may then have both spouses attend a hearing where each side presents their side. After hearing from each spouse, the judge may then take into consideration these factors before making the ultimate decision:

  1. How much money the receiving spouse is requesting, and to what degree the paying spouse can meet these needs
  2. The duration of the marriage
  3. The age of each spouse
  4. The emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of each spouse
  5. Whether both spouses share the responsibility of caring for children, or if this role falls onto one parent primarily
  6. The education level and earning potential of each spouse
  7. The quality of living that was created during the marriage