What is Spousal Support?
“Spousal Support” or “Alimony” is a payment made by one spouse to another in accordance with either a settlement agreement or a court order. The purpose of alimony is to correct any unfair economic effects caused by a divorce, such as when a stay-at-home parent suddenly needs a source of income after the divorce but has unequal earning power due to lack of education and/or work experience. Alimony is a personal right not a property right, so is typically allocated in addition to that party’s share of the community property.
This Alimony section covers the basics of spousal support, the various types of support, including temporary and lump-sum alimony, how to determine eligibility, calculating payment amounts, important records to save when paying or receiving alimony and much more. There are also links to resources such as the New Mexico Supreme Court Alimony Guidelines Worksheet.
How Is Alimony Determined?
Alimony or spousal support is the payment from one spouse to another after divorce to improve one party's financial situation, considering their circumstances both before and after the divorce. The court can decide a certain amount of support is necessary or a couple can agree to an appropriate amount of spousal support on their own.
Many factors go into determining the spousal support amount, such as the age and physical condition of each former spouse, the length of the marriage, the length of time needed for training or education to become self-sufficient, and the standard of living during the marriage. Alimony may be non-modifiable meaning it is fixed in duration and amount or it can be modifiable meaning there is no fixed duration and depending upon the future facts and circumstances, the amount of alimony could be increased, decreased or terminated by the court.
The essential aspects of alimony are: need of the recipient spouse, ability to pay of the payor spouse and fairness of the law in determining duration and amount of alimony to be paid. Alimony has certain benefits to the paying spouse because most types of alimony are structured to be tax deductible to the paying party and count as income to the receiving party.
Can I Get Alimony?
This depends on the facts of each particular case. Alimony is gender-neutral. It is not only for women. Any spouse who earns significantly more money than the other spouse may be required to pay alimony of some amount and some duration to the lesser earning spouse.
If you are curious about your spousal support eligibility, please schedule a legal consult with Claire Sanderson Hanna who has handled hundreds of alimony cases in her 25 year career.
Alternatives to Monthly Spousal Support Payments
The parties may negotiate an alimony case so that no monthly payments are required, by transferring an unequal division of assets to the lower earning spouse. In other words, the higher-earning spouse can “buy out” the lower-earning spouse’s alimony claim by having the alimony eligible spouse receive a higher percentage of the community property in lieu of monthly alimony payments.
Getting Legal Help
If you’re divorcing, you may want to speak to a divorce lawyer about the likelihood that you'll be awarded alimony. If you’ve already been granted an award for alimony, but are having difficulty getting your ex to pay, you may need a family law attorney to help you collect that money. Put our experience to work by calling Claire Sanderson Hanna Law Firm PC (505)243-0900.
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8500 Menaul NE, Suite B-550
Albuquerque, NM 87112
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