October 16, 2023
When you hear the term alimony, you might picture a divorced couple, with one party providing financial support to the other. But in some circumstances, a married person can receive alimony. Reach out a St. Petersburg spousal support and alimony lawyer for legal assistance and help.
Investopedia explains that— or spousal support—is a regular payment one spouse makes to the other during or after a divorce. Its purpose is to limit any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. It allows the recipient to continue to enjoy a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage.
A husband or wife can receive alimony, and failure to pay it as ordered can result in civil or even criminal penalties.
There are different types of alimony, Investopedia notes, such as:
- Temporary alimony: This is a temporary payment from one spouse to the other during a legal separation to cover divorce costs or daily expenses. This support typically ceases when the divorce process is complete.
- Rehabilitative alimony: These payments support a spouse who attempts to increase their employment chances through education or training. This alimony typically ends after a specified time or when the recipient’s spouse can support themselves.
- Permanent alimony: This monthly payment continues until the death of either spouse or until the recipient spouse remarries.
Each type serves a unique purpose based on the specific needs and circumstances of the involved parties.
In many states, there is no requirement regarding the length of the couple’s marriage for one of the spouses to seek alimony. Permanent alimony is not generally awarded for short marriages and is usually only available in cases where one spouse is unlikely to enter the workforce due to age or disability. Permanent alimony is not available in some states.
Can You Get Alimony While Still Married?
While you usually associate alimony with divorce, there are scenarios where you could receive alimony while still married.
A court may award alimony during a legal separation. Many states require couples who intend to divorce to separate for a time or to have a cooling-off period before initiating divorce proceedings.
The required separation period in some states can last a year or more. These lengthy separation periods may make it difficult for a lower-earning spouse to meet their financial needs without spousal support.
It’s possible to receive alimony during a marriage if one spouse has left or refuses to support the other. You can file a claim for spousal support under state laws in such cases. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains that abandonment in matrimonial law refers to marital misconduct involving one spouse bringing the cohabitation to an end without justification, without consent, and without the intention of renewing the marital relationship.
In all cases, the ability to obtain alimony while still married depends on the state laws where the couple resides, as well as factors including the financial position of each spouse and the circumstances that necessitate the need for support.
Child support is separate from alimony, and whether a spouse pays child support has no bearing on any spousal support order. In many states, if a spouse has a domestic violence conviction, they may not receive spousal support from their victim.
How To Approach Requesting Alimony While Still Married
When considering a request for alimony while married, your first step should be to get professional legal advice. A competent family law attorney can explain your chances based on your circumstances and state laws. They also can prepare the documentation needed to file the request in court.
This documentation requires the attorney to gather details about your financial status and that of your spouse and other information necessary to make a compelling case.
The judge will set alimony during a legal separation process, and you and your spouse can hammer out the details of a separation agreement in which you decide on your own a fair amount of alimony. An attorney then submits your agreement to the court, and a judge will review it to ensure it is fair to both parties before approving it.
Alimony may have tax implications. While alimony is not considered income by the Internal Revenue Service, and you do not have to report it, the spouse paying it can sometimes use the amount they pay as a tax deduction. That spouse can only take deductions if the spouses live in separate households.
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Guide You
Although commonly applicable in divorce cases, a judge can grant alimony under certain circumstances while parties are still married. While this may not be the norm, it illustrates the law’s effort to ensure fairness and prevent undue hardship.
If you’re considering this route, you must engage family law attorney in St. Petersburg to navigate the process and maximize your chances of a favorable result. In many cases, the lawyer can advise you and your spouse on how to reach a support agreement on your own, providing a unique opportunity for each of you to say how much support is appropriate and for how long. The law’s primary focus is ensuring a fair outcome for all parties.