Daniel J. Wright
Common Myths About Alimony
After a divorce, one spouse may be entitled to receive alimony, also known as spousal support. Alimony is supposed to help the recipient maintain a certain standard of living once a divorce is finalized. However, there are have been many misconceptions about alimony over the years. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common myths about alimony:
Wives Are the Only Ones Who Get Alimony
Gone are the days when wives are the only ones who receive spousal support. In this day and age, more and more women are becoming the breadwinners of their families. It’s not that uncommon now for husbands to stay home and watch the children as their wives go to to work. If a wife made considerably more money than the husband during the marriage, she’s the one who would have to pay him alimony.
Alimony is Permanent
Alimony is not meant to be permanent. It’s intended to provide temporary support to a spouse until that person gets back on his or her feet. For example, if a spouse gets a good paying job or get remarried, his or her alimony payments will likely come to an end.
Alimony Helps Spouses Maintain the Same Standard of Living of Their Marriages
One of the most common misconceptions about alimony is that it helps spouses keep the same standard of living of their marriages. The truth is, however, that alimony is only intended to help spouses pay for their basic needs, like housing, utilities and food. Spouses shouldn’t expect alimony to pay for things like vacation, trips to the salon, designer clothes and other extras.
A Judge Will Grant More Alimony if the Other Spouse Behaved Badly
Ever since all states became no-fault, the court doesn’t base alimony payments off a spouse’s behavior during the marriage. If a spouse had affairs or was physically abusive, it doesn’t entitle the other spouse to more alimony in a divorce. Courts don’t use alimony as a punishment anymore.
Alimony Is Just Free Money
Spouses should never think of alimony as only free money. It’s actually taxable to the recipient and intended to help a spouse transition him or herself, not live off of it. If a judge finds out that a person is spending alimony on frivolous purchases and not trying to get a job, the alimony could get reduced or eliminated altogether.
Alimony Is a Monthly Check
While alimony can be paid, monthly, it isn’t the only way this payment can be made. For example, some spouses request for alimony to be paid in a single lump sum. Spouses should discuss all of their available options with an experienced family lawyer.
As you can see, there are many different myths about alimony. If you are in the middle of a divorce and want to request alimony, you should hire a divorce lawyer to help you through the process. He or she can help you negotiate a fair amount.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Family Law, PLLC for their insight into divorce law.