Divorce is often long, painful, and wrought with financial strain. Court costs and legal fees can strain your bank account, including alimony. There is a lot of information surrounding this subject so it can be confusing. Anyone going through a divorce should know what alimony is and why it gets granted. Before disproving the myths surrounding alimony, it’s best to begin with a basic definition.
What is Alimony?
Alimony has its origins in ancient Rome. The term ‘alimonia” is Latin for “sustenance” or “nourishment.” Paying alimony to your partner may be court-ordered in a divorce case. The term is often used interchangeably with child support. However, there are some differences. Alimony is paid to your partner on a monthly basis with the goal of keeping them financially stable after divorce. It is separate from child support, which focuses on providing money for a child’s needs after a divorce.
The bottom line is that alimony is supposed to provide temporary financial relief for the other party after a divorce. It is not a permanent measure and can change over time.
Common Myths About Alimony
There is a lot of fact versus fiction regarding alimony that goes around. Our aim is to help you understand and debunk the myths surrounding alimony. Below are eight myths that will help you to know the difference.
Myth # 1: Alimony is Guaranteed
Contrary to popular opinion, alimony is neither assured nor guaranteed. You may not get it, even when you ask for it. If you need payments from your partner after the divorce, you should hire legal representation.
Before a judge awards alimony, they must take a few factors into consideration. One is if the plaintiff is competent and healthy enough to find gainful employment. Another is the amount of time that the couple was married. The longer the marriage, the greater the chances of getting alimony are. The standard is a minimum of four years in most cases.
Myth # 2: Only Women Get Alimony
This is not always the case. In some cases, women have to pay alimony to their former spouse after a divorce. Due to an increase in women’s earnings, some wives are making more than their husbands. There are households where the woman is the primary breadwinner, and the husband stays home to care for the children and the house. In these cases, alimony payments may be due to the husband after the divorce.
Myth # 3: Abuse and Infidelity Entitle You to More Money
All states have no-fault divorce laws, which means only one thing: You are not entitled to more money regardless of circumstance. This applies to divorces granted on grounds of abuse and infidelity.
Myth # 4: You Can Claim Alimony as a Tax Exemption
The short answer is no. If you make alimony payments, you can no longer write them off as a tax exemption. This law came into effect in January 2019, so anyone who divorced after that date is no longer eligible to claim any payments they make on their taxes.
Myth # 5: Only Parents Qualify to Receive Alimony Payments
Alimony is for spouses and not children. The idea is to help the other party meet basic expenses. However, it is required in addition to child support payments as ordered by the judge.
Myth # 6: Recipients Can Get Wealthy Off Of Alimony
The primary purpose of alimony is to help the other party with their basic cost of living expenses. This includes food, rent or mortgage, and utilities. The key is to provide financial sustainability until the recipient is able to get back on their feet again.
Myth # 7: Alimony is Not Taxable Income
Recipients are required to pay taxes on all payments received, including alimony. In fact, you should set aside at least a quarter of your monthly alimony payments into a savings account so you can pay taxes on them when you file.
Myth # 8: Alimony is Permanent
Contrary to what most people believe, alimony is not permanent. There are some circumstances in which an alimony agreement can be dissolved. Some examples include the recipient getting remarried or a change in employment. A court can stop the payments if the recipient starts a new job that makes more money or receives a promotion.
It’s important to remember that alimony is not an automatic right and that getting it is not always guaranteed. Courts reserve the right to revoke payments when a spouse is remarried, cohabitating, or deceased.
More on Alimony
Getting a perspective on alimony is important. These myths can help you dispel any confusion regarding making or receiving payments. To learn more, please visit our website today.