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What should I know about alimony judgments?

Alimony payments are something that many people automatically think about when they file for a divorce. The thing that people must realize about alimony payments is that there isn't a guarantee that alimony payments will be awarded. It is up to the judge who is overseeing the case to determine if alimony should be awarded.

Isn't alimony mandatory in some cases?

Alimony isn't mandatory in any case. All alimony judgments are made at the sole discretion of the judge. Some people falsely believe that the alimony guidelines are set in stone, but they aren't. These guidelines are exactly what they say. They are meant to guide a judge's decision.

What factors go into an alimony judgment?

Judges have to consider a lot of different factors. Two of the primary factors are whether the intended recipient needs the alimony payments or not and whether the intended payer is able to pay the alimony or not. Other factors include the standard of living that was present during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the health of the spouses and the age of the spouses.

When is alimony considered during the divorce?

Alimony is usually considered after the assets are divided. At that point, the judge would decide if spousal support is necessary. If it is deemed necessary, the judge would set the amount and the duration at that time.

If you are seeking alimony, make sure that you understand how these payments might affect you. For example, if you are paying alimony then the payments are deductible. If you are receiving the payments, the payments are taxable. Other effects are also possible.

Source: Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, "Understanding Spousal Support," Nancy Kurn, accessed March 04, 2016

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