The topic of alimony is commonly brought up throughout divorce cases here at LaCourse Law. Most of which are conversations filled with questions, so we thought we'd answer some of the most common questions to help you:
What is Alimony?
Alimony is court ordered financial support from one individual to another following a divorce. In the state of Oklahoma, following dissolution of marriage the court will take into consideration the specific circumstances of each case. This may require one individual to pay spousal support (alimony) to the other.
How Is Alimony Determined?
Alimony has evolved in Oklahoma during the last number of decades. It used to be that alimony was only granted due to fault, but nowadays the primary consideration for alimony is when need is proven. To prove need for alimony, the court is shown monthly expenses above the monthly income of the requestor. Likewise, what needs to be considered is if the party that is being asked to pay alimony has the ability to pay. Here, the court is shown net monthly income for the proposed payer, over and above the necessary monthly expenses the payer must pay each month.
Other major factors the court has to consider are the requestor's contributions to the marriage, the length of the marriage, standard of living to which the requestor has become accustomed, and the cost of maintaining a spouse during an economic readjustment period.
Alimony has no set formula to follow. The courts have specifically stated that each case depends upon its own unique facts. Therefore, it makes it very difficult to predict the probable length of the alimony payments. This makes the concept of a transitional period very important. (For example, a transitional period could be a time when the monthly expenses of the recipient will be reduced by paying off marital debts). This makes the need for a knowledgeable trial attorney who can present the necessary foundational evidence very important to successfully navigating a course ending in a substantial alimony award.
Can Alimony Be Modified Once It Has Been Ordered?
It should be noted that by statute an alimony award can be terminated by remarriage or voluntary cohabitation of an alimony recipient with a member of the opposite sex. Alimony also can be modified upon proof of changed circumstances relating to the need for support or the ability to pay support. These factors are also determined on a case-by-case basis.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Alimony is often called “transitional alimony support.” The key to length of duration of alimony support is how long will it take for the recipient to become self-supporting or to transition to the financial effects of the divorce.
Regardless of the length of the alimony order, alimony will usually, as a matter of law, end automatically under the following circumstances:
- The death of the supported spouse.
- The remarriage of the supported spouse, unless that spouse files a motion within 90 days of the date of remarriage and can show that support is still needed and it would not be unfair under the circumstances to continue payments.