Temporary alimony is a type of spousal support granted during the period the divorce proceeding is pending. Temporary alimony has been considered necessary due to the time it takes to finalize the divorce.
Temporary alimony is also available in legal separation and domestic violence cases. The purpose of this type of support is to keep both parties financially stable until the divorce proceedings have been completed. However, a temporary alimony order is not certain and depends on the facts of each case.
- What is the Process of Obtaining a Temporary Alimony?
- What Factors do Courts Consider in Awarding Temporary Alimony?
- How Are Temporary Alimony Orders Enforced by the Courts?
- Can Temporary Alimony Orders Be Modified?
- How Long Does Temporary Alimony Last?
- Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Temporary Alimony Issues?
First, you need to inform the court that you are in need of a temporary alimony order and file the necessary paperwork with the help of a temporary alimony lawyer in the family court. Once the courts reviewed the financial documents, it may hold hearings for the order. Courts have wide discretion is granting or denying the temporary alimony order.
It is crucial to document all the financial materials and collect them as evidence for the hearing. The more clearly you can articulate your financial and marital situation the better the judge can decide on your case.
A judge may look to several factors in determining the temporary alimony. These include:
- Length of the marriage;
- Age of the parties;
- Couple’s standard of living throughout the marriage;
- Each spouse’s mental and physical condition;
- The financial needs and financial resources;
- Each spouse’s ability to become self-sufficient through obtaining higher education;
- Each spouse’s contribution to marriage, financial and nonfinancial;
- Is the amount too burdensome on the spouse to meet their own financial means; and
- Ability to work while providing for any dependent children.
Additionally, the courts may look to determine if it was a “no fault” divorce and if there was any agreement on the alimony between the couples. However, laws regarding temporary spousal support vary throughout the states. Courts need to consider the financial capabilities of the spouse to set the temporary alimony amount.
Most states require that the divorcing couples file and exchange preliminary financial disclosures. Generally these forms provide sufficient information about each spouse’s financial situation. This includes any assets, debts, income and expenses.
Temporary alimony orders may include a temporary award of the marital home. Furthermore, it is within the court’s discretion to award temporary alimony even if the spouse is self-sufficient.
There are many reasons a spouse may have difficulty paying the court ordered amount of alimony. It could be due to medical, employment or the ability to work issues. After determining the reason for the delay in payment, the couples can come to an agreement to modify the alimony agreement to best serve their situations.
However, if your spouse does not have a viable reason and is avoiding the payments, you have the option to get the court involved. The court can order a spouse to make orderly payments for the spousal support.
The courts have discretion in imposing fines and in ordering another form of punishment for the spouses that are failing to follow court orders. States vary in the remedies provided to each spouse receiving alimony and some of them include:
- Contempt: Failing to pay spousal support voluntarily can lead to more fines and possible jail time;
- Income Withholding: Courts can order the spouse’s employer to withhold the income check or send it directly to the supporting spouse;
- Writ of Execution: Judge can order a portion of the spouse’s assets to be awarded to the supporting spouse; and
- Judgment and Interest: Courts can also issue money order judgments for large amounts of overdue alimony.
Courts can modify the temporary alimony orders based on a showing of changed circumstances. These changes need to be substantial and warrant a modification in the order. The most important consideration for temporary alimony orders, is that the courts determine supported party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay.
Temporary alimony ends upon the death of the supported spouse or remarriage. It also terminates once the divorce is finalized. The purpose of the temporary alimony is to ensure the self-sufficiency of the supported spouse and to allow adequate time needed.
However, some temporary alimony orders can carry over to the final judgement of the divorce, transforming into the permanent alimony order. Any family going through a divorce is enduring tough times. The spouses are also faced with bills and expenses for rearing their children.
Financial burdens can pile up and create complicated situations for the families seeking divorce. For more information and guidance on how to file for a temporary alimony order or to determine your eligibility, it would be useful to seek out a family law attorney to assist with the process. Your attorney can provide you with advice and representation during the legal process.