In any action for divorce, legal separation or separate maintenance, the court may award alimony to be paid by one spouse to or for the benefit of the other, or out of either spouse’s property, according to the nature of the case and the circumstances of the parties. The court may fix some definite amount or amounts to be paid monthly, semimonthly or weekly installments, or otherwise, as the circumstances may warrant. Such award, if not paid, may be enforced by any appropriate process of the court having jurisdiction including levy of execution. Further, the order or decree shall remain in the court’s jurisdiction and control, and, upon application of either party, the court may award and increase or decrease or other modification of the award based upon showing of a substantial and material change in circumstances; provided, that the award is subject to modification by the court based on the type of alimony awarded, the terms of the court’s decree or the terms of the parties’ agreement.
There are generally for types of alimony the Court will consider:
Alimony in solido (lump sum alimony) – Alimony in solido, also known as lump sum alimony, is a form of long term support, the total amount of which is calculable on the date the decree is entered, but which is not designated as transitional alimony. Alimony in solido may be paid in installments; provided, that the payments are ordered over a definite period of time and the sum of the alimony to be paid is ascertainable when awarded. The purpose of the form of alimony is to provide financial support to a spouse. In addition, alimony in solido may include attorney fees, where appropriate.
Transitional Alimony – Transitional alimony means a sum of money payable by one (1) party to, or on behalf of, the other party for a determinate period of time. Transitional alimony is awarded when the court finds that rehabilitation is not necessary, but the economically disadvantaged spouse needs assistance to adjust to the economic consequences of a divorce, legal separation or other proceeding where spousal support may be awarded, such as a petition for an order of protection.
Rehabilitative alimony – Rehabilitative alimony is a separate class of spousal support, as distinguished from alimony in solido, alimony in futuro, and transitional alimony. To be rehabilitated means t achieve, with reasonable effort, an earning capacity that will permit the economically disadvantaged spouse’s standard of living after the divorce to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse, considering the relevant statutory factors and the equities between the parties.
Alimony in futuro – Alimony in futuro, also know as periodic alimony, is a payment of support and maintenance on a long term basis or until death or remarriage of the recipient. Such alimony may be awarded when the court finds that there is relative economic disadvantage and that rehabilitation is not feasible, meaning that the disadvantaged spouse is unable to achieve, with reasonable effort, an earning capacity that will permit the spouse’s standard of living after the divorce to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse, considering the relevant statutory factors and the equities between the parties.
The primary factors that the court considers when making an alimony determination are (1) need, (2) ability to pay and (3) fault. This is one of only 2 occasions in a divorce trial that fault is considered. The other is when plaintiff is establishing his or her grounds for divorce.
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