An Attorney in Omaha Explains the Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support

by | Jun 29, 2013 | Lawyers

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Most people think alimony and spousal support are the same thing, but an Attorney Omaha will tell you that they are legally distinct and far from being mutually exclusive. Contrary to popular belief that these payments can only be made to the wife, both can be awarded to either spouse to correct income disparities after a divorce. In some cases, a spouse’s contribution to the home or to the breadwinner’s career will be recognized. In cases where spousal support or alimony is not awarded, the deciding reason is often that both spouses are evenly matched in career and earning potential.

Spousal Maintenance
Also called temporary support, spousal maintenance is a support payment that either spouse can ask for before filing for divorce. The only stipulation is that the couple must be physically separated before a spousal maintenance request can be made. Spousal support laws vary depending on location, and it is best to research jurisdictional laws before filing. If the couple in question has children and one party is asking for child support, the spousal maintenance calculation is slightly affected. Generally, judges look at 40% of the difference between the spouses’ incomes.

Alimony Payments
Alimony is monetary support that is only awarded once divorce proceedings have begun. The formula used to determine alimony payments is the same as for spousal support—40% of the difference between the couple’s incomes. A case’s unique circumstances can influence the alimony amount. If the divorce proceedings leave one spouse in need, at a disadvantage or living a substantially diminished lifestyle, that person can ask the state or local family court for an alimony award. The main distinction between spousal support and alimony is that the latter is considered only after the couple has equitably distributed the assets acquired during the marriage.

At Barnhart Law Office, we know that divorce is stressful under the best of circumstances, and not knowing what to expect adds to the stress. Whether you are petitioning the court for alimony or spousal support, or you’ve been ordered to pay, a skilled divorce Attorney Omaha can help you navigate the legal system and work to get you an equitable settlement.

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