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What is an alimony payment?

New Mexico residents going through a divorce are bound to face a number of financial changes after the divorce is final. If a couple has children, the non-custodial parent may have to make monthly child support payments. Someone going through a divorce may also have to re-structure his or her budget, because two incomes may be reduced to one. In addition, one spouse may also be required to make monthly alimony payments, as decided by the court or the divorcing couple.

What is an alimony payment? Alimony serves as a buffer, so that someone going through a divorce doesn't suffer financially. Usually, alimony payments are made by the spouse that has a higher income, to the spouse that is either not employed or making a lower wage. The court may order a spouse to make alimony payments so the other spouse can maintain his or her standard of living, and may take into consideration if one spouse has put his or her career on hold to stay home and take care of the children, for example.

Factors that may help determine the exact alimony payment amount include a couple's standard of living while they were married, the length of time the marriage lasted, the physical condition and age of the divorcing spouses, and the length of time it would take for the recipient to become financially stable. Also taken into consideration is whether or not the person making alimony payments can realistically support themselves while making payments to their former spouse.

Couples who are going through divorce and suspect that one spouse will need to make alimony payments, may want to consider speaking with a divorce attorney. Getting the right legal assistance can help divorcing couples reach an alimony agreement that benefits both parties involved.

Source:, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed on March 20, 2015

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