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How Alimony Works


Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally draining process, with many legal and financial issues. One of the most contentious topics in divorce is alimony, also known as spousal support. While maintenance is intended to provide financial support to the spouse who earns less or has no income, it often leads to heated debates and disagreements. If you are going through a divorce or considering one, it's crucial to understand how alimony works and what factors influence its calculation.

What is Alimony, and How Does It Work?

Alimony is a legal obligation to provide financial support to a spouse after a divorce. It's typically paid by the spouse who earns a higher income or has more assets and is designed to help the other spouse maintain their standard of living post-divorce.

The amount and duration of alimony depend on various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the income and earning potential of both spouses, their health condition, and their contribution to the marriage (such as homemaking, childcare, or supporting the other spouse's career). Alimony can be paid in a lump sum or periodic payments and can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances.

Types of Alimony

There are several types of alimony, depending on the specific needs of the receiving spouse and the paying spouse's financial situation. These include:

Temporary alimony: This is paid during the divorce proceedings and aims to help the receiving spouse cover their living expenses until a final settlement is reached.

Rehabilitative alimony: This is paid for a limited time to help the receiving spouse become self-sufficient, such as by obtaining education or training that will enable them to support themselves.

Durational alimony: This is paid for a specific period, typically not longer than the duration of the marriage.

Permanent alimony: This is paid until the receiving spouse dies or remarries and is usually awarded in cases where the receiving spouse cannot support themselves due to age, disability, or other factors.

Alimony and Tax Implications

Before 2019, alimony was tax-deductible for the paying spouse and taxable income for the receiving spouse. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed this rule, and alimony is no longer tax-deductible or taxable. This means the paying spouse can no longer deduct alimony payments from their taxes, and the receiving spouse does not have to report them as income.

Understanding these tax implications when negotiating or calculating alimony is essential, as they can significantly affect the amount and duration of alimony payments.

Legal Considerations of Alimony

Alimony is a legal obligation and typically involves complex negotiations and legal proceedings. It's crucial to have a qualified divorce attorney who understands the nuances of alimony laws and can help you navigate the process effectively.

Sometimes, it may be possible to modify or terminate alimony payments, such as if the receiving spouse gets a higher-paying job, remarries, or becomes self-sufficient. However, these modifications require legal procedures and the approval of a judge.

Milwaukee Divorce Lawyer

At The Law Offices of Jason D. Baltz , we understand the complexities surrounding alimony and are here to guide you through the process. Our experienced attorneys will provide you with the support and expertise you need to achieve a fair alimony arrangement. Contact us today at (414) 375-0797 to schedule a consultation.

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