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Ways people can use and protect their alimony checks

For most married couples in New Mexico, spouses will make financial decisions together. This can help the couple budget their spending and plan for the future. However, when couples divorce, it can be difficult to manage money. Even when a spouse is awarded alimony during dissolution, it is important to keep in mind that spousal support is considered taxable income and should be treated and managed like regular income.

Whether the court awards a spouse temporary, permanent or a lump sum payment of alimony, it is important to consider the terms and conditions of the spousal support payments, how long the payments will continue, what these payments will be used for and what actions could revoke these payments. For example, if the recipient spouse finds a job, fails to put forth the effort to find a job, remarries or dies, alimony payments will most likely end.

Alimony should be treated like another form of income and should be budgeted as such. Failure to properly budget spousal support could lead to hardships when it comes time to pay taxes or even pay routine bills. Although alimony is used for financial support, a spouse should devote this money to pay off debts, support the person and invest for the future.

Because the average divorce costs around $20,000, it is likely that there are still outstanding attorney's fees. It might be appropriate to pay off this debt first. Spousal support is supposed to help a spouse maintain the person's costs of living. Thus, alimony should be used to cover basic needs such a food, shelter and clothing. Next, alimony should be used to tackle any outstanding debt on credit cards and help the recipient spouse stay insured.

For some spouses, alimony is considered rehabilitative and used as a means to get the recipient spouse back on their feet so they can be self-supportive. This might mean going back to school or getting the proper job training so her or she can return to the workforce. Alimony could help fund this educational or training path. Lastly, alimony could be used to invest in the couple's children. The recipient spouse could open a savings account to help the person's children fund their college education.

As this post highlights, alimony can be very resourceful and even necessary in a divorce. For those spouses seeking alimony or dealing with divorce issues concerning spousal support, it is essential to understand your rights and options when it comes to requesting alimony.

Source:, "Here's the First Thing You Should Do with Your Alimony Check," Paul Sisolak, August 25, 2015

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