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Do I have to pay alimony in a divorce?

One pressing question that comes up frequently is concerning the need to pay the other spouse alimony. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support. The fact is that if one spouse was the primary bread winner, chances are that they are required to pay alimony to the other partner. However, it is also a good idea to look at other factors that might affect the length or amount of alimony received. Certainly, it is important to understand alimony’s purpose.

What Is Alimony’s Purpose
A husband will probably have to pay alimony to his partner, if he was the main bread winner or the only one working during the marriage. The purpose of alimony or spousal support is to provide the required financial support to the spouse, after legal termination of the marriage. However, those involved with short term marriages do not have to pay alimony. In addition, alimony is denied in marriages where both spouses earned similar pay.

How Long Will You Have To Pay Alimony
The fact is that there are several determining factors involved. Generally, a spouse will have to continue alimony payments until the former spouse remarries or dies. Other determining factors include the former spouse obtaining higher income, employment, children leaving home, or circumstances that required the judge to modify or end alimony payments.

What Happens If A Spouse In Unable Or Refuses To Pay Alimony
This happens frequently in divorces and varies according to state. One spouse is ordered to pay alimony. For example, a working husband is ordered to pay alimony to the non-working former wife. The husband refuses to pay the amount of alimony demanded. The judge will take into consideration the financial standing of the husband and the wife’s financial situation. The judge might modify the order or stand behind the order. Clearly, the judge is the one that will make the final decision in this matter. If the spouse continues to refuse to pay alimony, they stand in contempt and could face jail time.

Awarding Temporary Alimony
Some circumstances might warrant that the judge award temporary alimony to the spouse. This is generally granted to the financially dependent spouse, while in the middle of a divorce proceeding. After the divorce is finalized, the spouse might receive full alimony payments in a higher or lower amount than the temporary alimony.

If you would like to learn more about alimony, consult with our divorce law firm.