- I’m receiving alimony from my former spouse. If I remarry, can I continue to receive the alimony?
It depends. Without a written agreement between the parties, spousal support generally terminates when the recipient remarries. However, the parties may contract to continue spousal support even after the recipient remarries!
- The court awarded my former spouse alimony. Can’t I just stop working and claim I don’t have the money to pay it?
Don’t count on it. If you are voluntarily unemployed or even voluntarily underemployed (i.e. a neurosurgeon working at Taco Bell), the Court will probably “impute” income to you, meaning the judge will establish an earning capacity for you, whether or not you are actually earning that much.
- What if, through no fault of my own, I lose my job? Do I have to keep paying the same amount?
Maybe not. If the Court made the alimony “modifiable,” you can ask the Court to reduce the alimony if there is a material change in circumstances that justifies the reduction of the amount. An experienced domestic relations attorney can help you make that case to a judge.
- I just got a big raise. Is my former spouse entitled to more alimony?
Maybe. Again, it depends if the alimony is “modifiable” or not. If so, that big raise may well be a material change in circumstances that justifies increasing the alimony award.
- How is alimony treated by the IRS?
The spouse who pays alimony is entitled to an “above the line” deduction for alimony paid out. An “above the line” deduction is generally preferred because it reduces Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), thus potentially increasing other itemized deductions, such as medical expenses, that are calculated based on AGI. Alimony is treated as ordinary income to the recipient spouse.
- My husband and I recently separated and he has stopped paying the bills. I want him to pay spousal support. Which court has jurisdiction to order him to pay spousal support?
You can file your petition in either the Circuit Court or in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The procedures in each court are different, so you may want to consult with an attorney to figure out which court would be most advantageous for you, but both courts have the authority to order him to pay spousal support pending a final divorce hearing.