Archive for the 'Alimony' Category

Trends in Modification of Child Support and Alimony

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The number of divorced clients seeking changes to their existing child support and alimony payments is increasing, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).

Bad economic conditions induce many divorced spouses to either seek more money from ex-partners or try to reduce the amount they pay. Requests to increase alimony and child support payment amounts coincide with the worsening economic conditions. The number of clients requesting reduced child support and alimony payments also rose.

As job losses and pay cuts have increased, so have the requests for modified payment orders. 

 The AAML figures show that 39 percent of divorce attorneys acknowledged seeing a marked increase in recent child support modification orders and 42 percent saw a rise in the number of request to modify alimony payments, too. By comparison, just 5 percent of AAML attorneys reported a decrease in child support modifications and 6 percent reported a decrease in alimony modifications.


Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

One of Four Categories

When a court awards alimony, the spousal support is generally in one of four categories. They are as follows:

Limited Duration or Term Alimony, which is paid to the dependent spouse for a fixed number of years. The term is usually based on the number of years of the marriage and the needs of the dependent spouse.

Rehabilitative Alimony, which is awarded to the dependent spouse so that she or he can study or train with an eye to rejoining the work force.

Reimbursement Alimony, which is paid to the dependent spouse who has made sacrifices for the other spouse, for example lost career or business opportunities while the other spouse went to school, for the supposed betterment of the marital union.

Permanent Alimony, which is paid to the dependent spouse who has little or no chance of reentering the workforce. This award frequently goes to an older woman who was in a long-term marriage, a person who has no or little chance of reentering the work force.

In awarding alimony, courts have latitude and, depending upon the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the divorce, consider a variety of mandatory and discretionary factions.

Imputed Income: Applied in Child Support Calculations and Alimony

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Sometimes, the husband argues that he cannot work anymore or does not have the income he had at the onset of the divorce, and the wife, in turn, contends that the income should be imputed, or attributed. He contends that he is struggling to survive as a novelist; she contends he is a willfully unemployed idler. She supports her contention by demonstrating that he has the ability to work and that the unemployment is elective.

This can happen during the trajectory of the divorce or when the parties appeal for modifications of alimony or child support as a result of a change in circumstance, but on this point, the wife has the law on her side. In general, for purposes of spousal and child support, courts consider the earning capacities of the parties, not their actual income. Courts view elective unemployment (idling) or underemployment as bad faith and remedy that with the legal fiction of imputed income, which makes the party responsible for the payment.

Courts impute income in two ways — the first, as a matter of fact, where the court considers the actual earnings of the spouse, and the second, as a matter of law, where the court considers the earning power of the party.

For example, a judge may impute a certain income level to a brain surgeon who abandons his profession to become a street musician because courts believe his family has a right to income that would have been provided had he paid “diligent attention” to his career. The rationale behind the imputation of income is that no one should be allowed to escape obligations by taking actions that make the fulfillment of such obligations impossible.

The desire of a woman to stay at home with small children is a good-faith reason for not imputing income to her, courts have found.

Stopping the Payment of Alimony

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

If you have an alimony order in place, the only way to not pay legally, would be to have the alimony order modified.

Modifying alimony is not normal. Alimony is typically set in stone until certain circumstances occur (remarriage, death, etc.). These circumstances should be clearly stated in your divorce decree or judgment. Alimony is typically awarded based on the property distribution, so modifying the alimony would mean that the property award is no longer fair.

If you do stop paying the alimony, you are subjecting yourself to being taken back to court, paying arrearages and potentially other severe penalties.

If your income has significantly decreased for a significant period of time, it may be worth trying to get the court to recognized that the current alimony order is not fair, but be prepared to provide evidence that payment of the order is not feasible.