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Quick Guide: Alimony

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Going through a divorce is a very emotional experience, but it is important to understand all the parts of a divorce in order to plan for your life afterward. One aspect that many people have questions about is alimony.

To start, a few people don’t understand what alimony is. This is a payment made by an ex-husband to his ex-wife. The money is meant to compensate the ex-wife for the non-compensated services that have been provided during a marriage. Traditionally, this means compensation for the housework and childcare, but it can include a wide range of services.

The amount of alimony that an ex-husband will pay an ex-wife is determined by the judge and can vary from state to state. In general, however, the amount is determined by the length of the marriage and the amount of money and other assets that the ex-husband holds. The ability of the ex-wife to support herself and her contributions to the marriage are also considered, but they are not the determining factor. The amount can be adjusted by the judge.

The judge also has a lot of discretion is determining the payment schedule. In some cases, alimony can consist of a single lump sum payment. It is more common, however, for alimony to be paid out over time in monthly payments.

Like any other part of the divorce settlement, alimony can be negotiated. In fact, it is common for an ex-wife to let alimony payments be waived in exchange for additional assets or other concessions. It is also very common for the payment schedule to be negotiated. In some situations, a lump sum payoff is preferable to making monthly payments.

It is rare for alimony payments to be discharged in a bankruptcy, although this can be done in some situations. It is also common for lawyers to write a clause into an alimony contract that provides for the ex-wife in the case that the ex-husband becomes disabled or dies.

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