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Determining if alimony will be required in dissolution

When a divorce is finalized, the relationship between the spouses might be over but some couples remain tied through financial obligations. Depending on the circumstance during the marriage and post-divorce, divorcing couples in New Mexico and elsewhere might have to decide whether spousal support is appropriate. However, just because a spouse is requesting alimony during dissolution does not mean the other spouse will be required to make alimony payments. Therefore, when alimony becomes a divorce issue, individuals seeking divorce should take the steps necessary to ensure they are well informed of their rights. Since the laws regarding alimony vary from state to state, seeking legal advice may be of help.

A major factor that helps determine whether alimony is appropriate in a divorce is the gross monthly income of both spouses. In some states, guidelines are set up for the court, and based on these guidelines and the length of the marriage, courts will determine if spousal support is necessary and if so, for how long.

In some cases, courts will consider other relevant factors such as the standard of living during the couple's marriage, the ability for a spouse to make alimony payments and the earning capacity of the recipient spouse. Additionally, factors such as age, health, history of domestic violence or criminal convictions play an important role in determining whether or not alimony should be awarded.

Finally, even when alimony is awarded, the recipient spouse has the right to refuse spousal support. This could occur for several reasons. Many refuse alimony because it is not necessary and they are able to support themselves. Others forego alimony as a means to cut ties with their ex, allowing them to move forward and start with a clean slate.

Whether a spouse decides to accept or refuse an alimony award, it is important that both spouses understand what each action means. Additionally, if an individual accepts an alimony award and has encountered issues that require modification or enforcement, he or she should take necessary steps to resolve these issues.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Alimony -- Are You On The Hook?" Caroline Choi, Nov. 13, 2015

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