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Encyclopedia > Alimony
Family law
Entering into marriage
Prenuptial agreement  · Marriage
Common-law marriage
Same-sex marriage
Legal states similar to marriage
Cohabitation  · Civil union
Domestic partnership
Registered partnership
Putative marriage
Dissolution of marriage
Annulment  · Divorce  · Alimony
Issues affecting children
Paternity  · Legitimacy  · Adoption
Legal guardian  · Ward
Emancipation of minors
Parental responsibility
Contact (including Visitation)
Residence in English law
Custody  · Child support
Areas of possible legal concern
Spousal abuse  · Child abuse
Child abduction
Adultery  · Bigamy  · Incest
Conflict of Laws Issues
Marriage  · Nullity  · Divorce

Alimony, maintenance or spousal support is an obligation established by law in many countries that is based on the premise that both spouses have an absolute obligation to support each other during the marriage (or civil union) unless they are legally separated. In some instances, the obligation to support may continue after separation. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Image File history File links Scale_of_justice. ... Family Law was a television drama starring Kathleen Quinlan as a divorced lawyer who attempted to start her own law firm after her lawyer husband took all their old clients. ... A prenuptial agreement or antenuptial agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into by two people prior to marriage or civil union. ... Matrimony redirects here. ... Common-law marriage (or common law marriage), sometimes called informal marriage or marriage by habit and repute is, historically, a form of interpersonal status in which a man and a woman are not legally married. ... One of four newly wedded same-sex couples in a public wedding at Taiwan Pride 2006. ... This article is about a living arrangement. ... As unregistered cohabitation Recognised in some regions Recognised prior to legalisation of same-sex marriage Netherlands (nationwide) (1998) Spain (12 of 17 communities) (1998) South Africa (nationwide) (1999) Belgium (nationwide) (2000) Canada (QC, NS and MB) (2001) Recognition debated See also Same-sex marriage Registered partnership Domestic partnership Common-law... International recognition Civil unions and Domestic partnerships Recognized in some regions Unregistered co-habitation Recognition debated See also Same-sex marriage Civil union Registered partnership Domestic partnership Timeline of same-sex marriage Listings by country This box:      A domestic partnership is a legal or personal relationship between individuals who live... LGBT rights Around the world By country History · Groups · Activists Declaration of Montreal Same-sex relationships Marriage · Adoption Opposition · Discrimination Violence This box:      As unregistered cohabitation Recognised in some regions Recognised prior to legalisation of same-sex marriage Netherlands (nationwide) (1998) Spain (12 of 17 communities) (1998) South Africa (nationwide... A putative marriage is an apparently valid marriage, entered into in good faith on part of at least one of the partners, but is invalid because of an impediment, such as a currently valid marriage on part of one of them. ... Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. ... Divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage before the death of either spouse. ... In law, Paternity is the legal acknowledgment of the parental relationship between a father and his child usually based on biological factors, but sometimes based on social factors. ... Freiheitsrechte Recht auf Leben, Freiheit, Eigentum, Sicherheit der Person Allgemeine, nur durch Gesetz beschränkbare Handlungsfreiheit Freiheit von willkürlichen Eingriffen in die Privatsphäre (Wohnung, Briefgeheimnis etc. ... For other uses, see Adoption (disambiguation). ... A legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward. ... In law, a ward is someone placed under the protection of a legal guardian. ... Emancipation of minors is a legal mechanism by which a person below the age of majority (adulthood) gains certain rights, generally identical to those of adults. ... In the states of the European Union and elsewhere, parental responsibility refers to the rights and privilieges which underpin the relationship between a child and either its parents or those adults who have a significant role in its life. ... In Family Law, contact (or in the United States, visitation) is one of the general terms which denotes the level of contact a parent or other significant person in a childs life can have with that child. ... In Family Law, residence is an Order of the Family court under s8 Children Act 1989 following the breakdown of a marriage and determining where the child(ren) are to live and with whom. ... Child custody and guardianship are legal terms which are sometimes used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, and the parents duty to care for the child. ... In many countries, child support or child maintenance is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian, for the care and support of children of a relationship or marriage that has been terminated. ... Spousal abuse refers to a wide spectrum of abuse. ... Child abuse is the physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect of children by parents, guardians, or others. ... Child abduction is the abduction or kidnapping of a child (or baby) by an older person. ... This article is about the act of adultery. ... Polygamy, literally many marriages in ancient Greek, is a marital practice in which a person has more than one spouse simultaneously (as opposed to monogamy where each person has a maximum of one spouse at any one time). ... Incest is defined as sexual intercourse between closely related persons. ... Private International Law, International Private Law, or Conflict of Laws is that branch of law regulating all lawsuits involving a foreign law element where a difference in result will occur depending on which laws are applied as the lex causae. ... In Conflict of Laws, the issue of marriage has assumed increasing public policy significance in a world of increasing multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community existence. ... In Conflict of Laws, the issue of nullity (known as annulment in the United States) in Family Law inspires a wide response among the laws of different states as to the circumstances in which a marriage will be valid, invalid or null. ... In modern society, the role of marriage and its termination through divorce have become political issues. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... Matrimony redirects here. ... As unregistered cohabitation Recognised in some regions Recognised prior to legalisation of same-sex marriage Netherlands (nationwide) (1998) Spain (12 of 17 communities) (1998) South Africa (nationwide) (1999) Belgium (nationwide) (2000) Canada (QC, NS and MB) (2001) Recognition debated See also Same-sex marriage Registered partnership Domestic partnership Common-law... Legal separation is a possible step towards divorce under United States law. ... Separation may refer to a several different subjects: In chemistry, separation refers to the separation process. ...


Historically, alimony arose as a result of the indissoluble nature of marriage. Because divorce was rare, husband and wife remained married after their physical separation and the husband's obligation to support his wife continued. With the growing view that men and women should be treated equally, the law recognized that both husbands and wives owed each other a similar duty of support. Accordingly, courts now may order either the husband or wife to pay alimony (Especially in cases where the wife was the primary breadwinner.), though in practice it is more often the husband. The Bread WInner is about a poor Family in Afganastan. ...

Contents

How alimony is granted

Once dissolution proceedings commence, either party may seek interim or pendente lite support during the course of the litigation. Dissolution is also the term for the legal process by which an adoption is reversed. ... A Latin term meaning while pending which is utilized for court orders or legal agreements entered into while a matter (such as a divorce) is pending. ... A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in order to recover a right, obtain damages for an injury, obtain an injunction to prevent an injury, or obtain a declaratory judgment to prevent future legal disputes. ...


Where a divorce or dissolution of marriage (civil union) is granted, either party may ask for post-marital alimony. It is not an absolute right, but may be granted, the amount and terms varying with the circumstances. If one party is already receiving support at the time of the divorce, the previous order is not automatically continued (although this can be requested), as the arguments for support during and after the marriage can be different. Divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage before the death of either spouse. ... Divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage, which can be contrasted with an annulment which is a declaration that a marriage is void, though the effects of marriage may be recognized in such unions, such as spousal support, child custody and distribution of property. ... As unregistered cohabitation Recognised in some regions Recognised prior to legalisation of same-sex marriage Netherlands (nationwide) (1998) Spain (12 of 17 communities) (1998) South Africa (nationwide) (1999) Belgium (nationwide) (2000) Canada (QC, NS and MB) (2001) Recognition debated See also Same-sex marriage Registered partnership Domestic partnership Common-law...


Unless the parties agree on the terms of their divorce in a binding written instrument, the court will make a fair determination based on the legal argument and the testimony submitted by both parties. This can be modified at any future date based on a change of circumstances by either party on proper notice to the other party and application to the court. The courts are generally reluctant to modify an existing agreement unless the reasons are compelling. In some jurisdictions the court always has jurisdiction to grant maintenance should one of the former spouses become a public charge. Legal instrument is a legal term of art that is used for any written legal document such as a certificate, a deed, a will, an Act of Parliament or a law passed by a competent legislative body in municipal (domestic) or international law. ... In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. ...


Alimony and child support compared

Alimony is not child support, which is another ongoing financial obligation often established in divorce. Child support is where one parent is required to contribute to the support of his or her children through the agency of the child's other parent or guardian. In many countries, child support or child maintenance is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian, for the care and support of children of a relationship or marriage that has been terminated. ...


Alimony is treated very differently to child support in the United States with respect to taxation. Alimony is treated as income to the receiving spouse, and deducted from the income of the paying spouse. Child support is not a payment that affects U.S. taxes as it is viewed as a payment that a parent is making for the support of their own offspring. Income, generally defined, is the money that is received as a result of the normal business activities of an individual or a business. ... In many countries, child support or child maintenance is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian, for the care and support of children of a relationship or marriage that has been terminated. ...


If a party fails to pay alimony, there are not generally any special legal options available to the party that is owed money. In many jurisdictions, people whose child support obligations go into arrears can have licenses seized, in a few states they can even be imprisoned. Someone trying to recover back alimony can sometimes only use the collection procedures that are available to all other creditors (for example, (s)he could report the back alimony to a collection agency). In some states, if someone is unable to pay all of their alimony, they will be found in contempt of court and placed in jail. A collection agency is a business that pursues payments on debts owed by individuals or businesses. ...


Factors affecting alimony

Some of the possible factors that bear on the amount and duration of the support are:

Length of the marriage
Generally alimony lasts for a term or period, that will be longer if the marriage lasted longer. A marriage of over 10 years is often a candidate for permanent alimony.
Time separated while still married
In some U.S. states, separation is a triggering event, recognized as the end of the term of the marriage. Other U.S. states (such as New Jersey) do not recognize separation or legal separation. In a state not recognizing separation, a 2-year marriage followed by an 8-year separation will generally be treated like a 10-year marriage.
Age of the parties at the time of the divorce
Generally more youthful spouses are considered to be more able to 'get on' with their lives, and therefore thought to require shorter periods of support.
Relative income of the parties
In U.S. states that recognize a 'right' of the spouses to live 'according to the means they have become accustomed', alimony attempts to adjust the incomes of the spouses so that they are able to approximate, as best possible, their prior lifestyle. This tends to equalize strongly post-divorce income, heavily penalizing the higher-earning spouse.
Future financial prospects of the parties
A spouse who is going to realize significant income in the future is likely to have to pay higher alimony than one who is not.
Health of the parties
Poor health goes towards need, and potentially an inability to support for oneself. The courts do not want to leave one party indigent.
Fault in marital breakdown
In U.S. states where fault is recognized, fault can significantly affect alimony, increasing, reducing or even nullifying it. Many U.S. states are 'no-fault' states, where one does not have to show fault to get divorced. No-fault divorce spares the spouses the acrimony of the 'fault' processes, and closes the eyes of the court to any and all improper spousal behavior.
A sex change is yet to affect previously granted alimony payments. Recent cases in Ohio and Florida have resulted in rulings for payments to continue, saying that sex change isn't enough to violate an alimony agreement.

Legal separation is a possible step towards divorce under United States law. ... No-fault divorce is the dissolution of a marriage, upon petition to the court by either party, without the requirement that the petitioner show fault on the part of the other party. ...

Tax consequences of alimony in the United States

According to Section 71 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, alimony must be included in the recipient’s gross income and can be excluded from the payer’s gross income. To qualify as alimony the payments must meet the following five conditions: The Internal Revenue Code (or IRC) (more formally, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended) is the main body of domestic statutory tax law of the United States organized topically, including laws covering the income tax (see Income tax in the United States), payroll taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes...

  • The payment is a cash payment
  • The payment is received by a “divorce or separation instrument”
  • The instrument does not specify that the payments are not for alimony
  • The payer and payee are not members of the same household when the payments are made
  • There is no liability to make the payments for any period after the death or remarriage of the recipient

These requirements apply whether the parties enter an agreement that is approved in an order of the Court (contractual alimony) or the Court orders alimony after a contested trial (statutory alimony). See, for example, Post-Divorce Alimony in Texas.


A divorce or separation instrument is defined as a decree of divorce or separate maintenance or a written instrument incident to such a decree, a written separation agreement, or a decree requiring a spouse to make payments for the support or maintenance of the other spouse.


Child support must be included in the payer’s gross income and can be excluded from the recipient’s gross income. Child support payments are payments that are allocated to the support of the minor children of the pair. If the amount of the alimony payments would be reduced in the event of the age, death, or marriage of the child, this contingent amount would be considered child support.


Section 215 of the Internal Revenue Code allows the alimony payer to take a tax deduction for any alimony or separate maintenance paid during the year. The payer’s deduction is tied to the recipient’s inclusion of alimony.


Together Sections 71 and 215 act as an income-splitting device. Because of this, collaborative divorce processes such as mediation may allow special tax-saving alimony planning opportunities. See, for example, Mediation's Power in Alimony Cases. For statistical mediation, see Mediation (Statistics). ...


See also

Look up Alimony in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  Results from FactBites:
 
AllRefer.com - alimony (Legal Terms And Concepts) - Encyclopedia (398 words)
Alimony is distinct from child support, which is the duty of both mother and father to contribute, based on ability to pay, to the support of minor children.
Temporary alimony is allowed pending the outcome of a suit for divorce or separation, or for a decree of nullity of marriage, whether initiated by husband or wife; permanent alimony may be granted after a divorce has taken effect.
Alimony ceases on the death of the individual liable; it is not payable out of his or her estate.
Alimony (1115 words)
Alimony, on the other hand, is not necessarily geared to the passage of time (although it can be), and may continue indefinitely or to the death or remarriage of a party.
Alimony is likely to be ordered in circumstances where continued financial contribution to one of the parties by the other is appropriate - all depending upon the economic circumstances of the parties.
On the other hand, alimony is likely in the typical situation where the parties have been married for more than 20 years, one of the parties has been the primary bread winner, and the other has remained at home, raising children and foregoing a career outside the home.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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