Types of Alimony and the Consequences of Failing to Pay this Support Payment

Though not always an issue after divorce, alimony, however, can present difficulties if ever it becomes one of the divorce-related cases that need to be settled. Alimony is a court-ordered payment that one spouse needs to give his or her partner after they get divorced. This support payment applies only where marriage was valid, though, ruling out marriages that end in annulment or were declared void, unless the state provides otherwise.

In the US, laws regarding alimony – who ought to receive it, how much financial support should be given and what the required conditions of marriage (numbers of years of marriage) are, vary from one state to another. The types of alimony or forms of payment, though, are somehow the same:

  • Temporary – also called alimony pendente lite. This type of alimony is awarded to one of the spouses (either the wife or the husband). This applies if, while the divorce case is pending, the spouses are already living separately.
  • Rehabilitative – support given to a spouse to help him / her undergo the re-education or re-training that will help him / her get a good job and become self-sufficient.
  • Permanent – a court-specified periodic (usually monthly) payment to allow the recipient spouse or obligee to continue to enjoy his/her standard of living enjoyed during marriage. This support payment goes on, but only until the recipient remarries, either of the spouses dies or if the court makes modifications.
  • Lump sum – a large and fixed support payment made either in a limited number of payments or in a single payment. This type of alimony is usually applied when the spouse supposed to provide the support is deemed totally irresponsible in living out his / her duty of providing spousal support.

When making decisions regarding alimony awards, the following factors, which determine the abilities and needs of both spouses, are considered:

  • Age and health condition of the spouses;
  • Earning capability of either party and the capacity of the determined supporting party to pay spousal support;
  • Earned and unearned income and assets of both parties;
  • Duration of the marriage;

On its website, the BB Law Group PLLC, tells how difficult it can be for spouses to reach a settlement regarding alimony. Spouses need to understand, though, that alimony is ordered by the court and, therefore, has a mandatory nature; failure to make payments will merit contempt of court. Under this instance, the court may pursue a criminal or civil case against the law violator or resort to any of the following to oblige the payor to pay:

  • Imprisonment
  • Seizure of earnings like tax refund or liens on property
  • Wage garnishments

Getting help from a knowledgeable family or divorce lawyer will somehow make the fight or settlement for alimony be concluded faster and fairer. These lawyers know how essential alimony is, especially to those who gave up their own educational and employment opportunities by offering their full time to family concerns to allow their spouses’ careers to peak.