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How to Get Alimony

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What Is Alimony?

Alimony is also known as spousal support. These are monetary payments that are made regularly from one ex-spouse to another in the event of divorce or legal separation. This is done based on the notion that the couple may have spent a significant amount of time being financially dependent on one another. Alimony is thus intended to require one spouse (usually the one with greater wealth) to assist the other in “getting back on their feet” immediately after divorce.

Calculating alimony can often be a complex process that requires analysis of many different factors, including:

  • How long the parties were married
  • The financial assets owned by each party individually
  • The amount of property and money being split equally under community property laws (if applicable)

What Are Some Tips for Getting Alimony?

Here are some pointers on how to get alimony: 

  • Need to request directly- Alimony is not automatically granted in court.  You will also need to provide proof of your financial need
  • Be truthful and honest in disclosing full assets; discovery of fraud can ruin one’s eligibility for alimony
  • There are many forms of alimony- For instance, a temporary alimony arrangement may be a better “fit” than a long term one, especially for marriages that lasted only a short amount of time
  • Alimony can be modified in the future; in fact, an adjustment is usually required at some point once the parties get settled in with their separate lives

Also, remember that hiding assets or purposely failing to disclose assets you have can lead to serious legal consequences. Besides disqualifying you from getting alimony, you may face more serious repercussions, such as a contempt order or even criminal charges.  Be careful to avoid such actions during the divorce or separation process. 

I Have a Dispute Involving Alimony Payments - What Should I Do?

As mentioned, an existing alimony can usually be subject to modification in the future. Again, this is not automatically granted, and a modification order must be specifically submitted to the court. The court will review the order to determine whether a modification is necessary. Terminating alimony can also be an option, for instance if the non-paying party gets remarried and is getting monetary contributions from their new spouse. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Understanding How To Get Alimony?

Alimony laws can be very complicated, and they can also be very different in each state. It’s in your best interests to contact an experienced family law attorney if you need assistance with alimony, divorce, legal separation, or other matters. Your attorney can provide you with valuable legal advice to help you with your claim, and can guide you throughout the entire legal process.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 09-24-2014 04:25 PM PDT

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