Spousal Support and Alimony FAQs

Spousal Support and Alimony FAQs

What is the difference between spousal support and alimony or maintenance?

Spousal support, alimony, and maintenance are all different names for payment of support provided by one spouse to another. Alimony is a historical name and was meant to be more of a punitive measure. It is a term that is no longer commonly used. However, spousal support and maintenance are often used interchangeably in today’s world. In many divorce proceedings, spousal support is a major focal point. This is particularly true when one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent and has not worked in recent years. Every state has their own guidelines about what these types of payments are called and how they are calculated.

How does a judge determine if I qualify to receive spousal support?

Spousal support, sometimes referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony, is not automatic. Courts have broad discretion to award maintenance or not award it. It is important to look at the laws in each state as they differ in how spousal support is determined and what factors are used. Some of the factors when considering spousal support may include such things as:

  • The need of one spouse versus the other spouse’s ability to pay
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of the spouse seeking support
  • The impact on the children
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage

What is permanent spousal support? Under what conditions might a judge order it?

Permanent spousal support continues until the death of the payor, the death of the recipient or the remarriage of the recipient. In some cases it can continue after the remarriage of the recipient. It is a good idea, if you are receiving permanent spousal support to request that your spouse carry a life insurance policy with you as the beneficiary. If he/she dies you will not have to suffer the financial consequences of losing your spousal support.

Do men ever receive spousal support?

Yes. Women are the sole or primary breadwinners in 4 out of 10 households with children, according to a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center. This has happened by choice, by chance, or by need per a new survey of 2,000 working moms and dads conducted by Working Mother Media. a rise in men asking ex-wives for spousal support is also increasing as more women become breadwinners. Although up-to-date numbers are unclear, according to 2010 Census records, of the 400,000 people receiving spousal support, only 3 percent were men. Fast forward to 2013, when the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers surveyed its 1,600 members and found that 47 percent had noticed an increase in the number of women who are paying alimony. As women increasingly become chief breadwinners, and with the ascent of stay-at-home fathers, the number of men seeking alimony from their ex-wives is expected to rise as social mores change.

What can the spousal support recipient do to protect against the payments ending with the payor’s death or disability?

It is a good idea, if you are receiving spousal support to request that your spouse carry a life insurance policy with you as the beneficiary. If he/she dies you will not have to suffer the financial consequences of losing your spousal support. It also may be a good idea to work towards becoming self sufficient while the support payments are still being made.

Do I have to pay spousal support if my ex is living with a new romantic partner?

This varies from state to state. The fact that your ex has moved in with a significant other does not change your obligation to pay alimony, unless it is modified by a new court order. If the spouse who is receiving maintenance payments remarries, then maintenance will generally terminate. In certain circumstances, cohabitation may result in termination of maintenance as well, but you would need to consult with an attorney about the specifics. Once the supported spouse enters into a new marital partnership, the supporting spouse is no longer financially obligated to continue paying maintenance.

In Missouri, to modify alimony payments it must be shown there are changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the original award unreasonable. The court, in determining whether or not a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, shall consider all financial resources of both parties, including the extent to which the reasonable expenses of either party are, or should be, shared by a spouse or other person with whom he or she cohabits, and the earning capacity of a party who is not employed. In Missouri, a cohabitation relationship is one where the couple shares bank accounts, credit cards, lists one another as beneficiaries on life insurance policies, jointly titles property, and takes other actions tantamount to marriage.

Is spousal support tax deductible?

It used to be. However, under a new law that was passed in 2017, spousal support awards entered after December 31, 2018 will not be tax deductible for the payor or includible for the receiver.

Contact a Spousal Support Attorney Today in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma

If you are going through a family law case dealing with spousal support, the attorneys of Stange Law Firm, PC would be happy to help in the Midwest in St. Louis, Kansas Ciy, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Tulsa and beyond. Contact us online or by calling any one of our locations below.

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Helpful Information On Child Support Matters

On our webpage, we also have pages on various other topics involving support that might be helpful to you, including the pages below and those on our menu:
Missouri child support calculator
If you are looking for a child support estimate in Missouri, we have a sample Form 14 on our webpage that can help give you a general idea in terms of child support numbers for your case.
Illinois child support calculator
If you are interested in obtaining a child support estimate in Illinois, on our webpage, we have a sample Illinois child support calculator. This might be helpful in terms of giving you a general idea of child support in your case.
Kansas child support chart
If you are interested in obtaining a child support estimate in Kansas, we have a simple chart on our webpage. This might be helpful in giving an approximation.
Oklahoma child support chart
If you are interested in obtaining a child support estimate in Oklahoma, we have a simple chart on our webpage. This might be helpful in giving an approximation.
Informational support videos
We have information child support videos from some live seminars that we have hosted on our webpage that you can view.
Child support emancipation
If you are interested in know how child support emancipation works, we have information on our webpage that you can view.
College education and child support
The cost of college and university education can be an important component of child support in divorce and custody cases. Our lawyers can assist if the cost of education is an issue in your case.
Modification of child support
In some cases, the court has issued a child support order. After the passage of time, it might be important to seek a modification where there have been changed circumstances of a substantial and continuing basis. You can discuss this with our lawyers if you think a modification might be appropriate in your case.
Modification of spousal support (alimony/maintenance)
Spousal maintenance can be ordered at the conclusion of a divorce. In some cases, the parties might need to seek a modification and/or termination of a maintenance order. Our lawyers can assist in many instances.
Daycare and child support
In divorce and custody cases where there are young children, the cost of daycare or childcare can be an important issue. Our lawyers can help you work through these issues.
Dependency exemptions
The dependency exemptions can be important for many divorcing parties or unmarried couples. Our lawyers can represent you in these circumstances.
Division of Child Support Enforcement
Many child support matters end up being addressed through state administrative agencies. Our lawyers can help represent you before state child support agencies.
Wage withholding orders and garnishments
In some cases, child support can be paid either through a wage withholding order or garnishment. Our lawyers can help you navigate the process.
Serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa and Beyond in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma

From our webpage, you can also read articles about family law, view informational videos, seminar videos, listen to our podcast, download our mobile application or view support calculators for MissouriIllinois and Kansas.

If you are looking to find and hire a child custody lawyer, contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation at any of our convenient locations.

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