Woman with question mark on blackboard

Woman with question mark on blackboard

My how things have changed! Back in the “old days” it was always the woman got alimony after a divorce. Now, more and more, we see men getting alimony instead. These days many women make more money than men; but does being the breadwinner automatically burden you with paying alimony? The answer, as is often the case in the law, is – it depends.
To get alimony, you have to ask for it. That is the starting point. One spouse has to seek alimony (aka – spousal support) by showing a need for it. Keep in mind if you are the spouse, that is, the primary caretaker of your child/children, child support is a separate request from spousal support and such funds, if received, should not be commingled.
Can both spouses ask? Sure, but that isn’t standard protocol. In most divorces cases, if there is a request it is by one party due to the discrepancy in household contribution one spouse makes over the other. If both spouses are requesting they could cancel each other out…..it seems that is what most courts would do.
Well, what does a court look at in deciding whether to grant spousal support? Several factors, such as:
• The age and health of each spouse;
• How each spouse is supporting themselves;
• The current and future income of each spouse, plus earning capacity;
• Length of marriage;
• Both spouses’ efforts to maintain employment/become self-supporting;
• Amount of property award to each spouse;
• Each spouse’s assets and debt;
• Both spouses’ financial needs and standard of living;
• Any agreements made in consideration of divorce (e.g., legal separation).
The court will also review what type of alimony you are seeking. There are several in New Mexico including:
Long-term alimony: This one is the hardest to get; generally it is designed for people who have been in marriages for approximately 20 years or longer. If the spouse seeking support was the homemaker, took care of the kids, didn’t work and had less education, this would be appropriate. Additionally, this is the remedy for the spouse who will always make less money than the other spouse.
Transitional Alimony: This is alimony that is paid for a short period of time to assist the spouse in gaining independence.
Rehabilitative Alimony: This allows the seeking spouse to pursue education or training to acquire autonomy.
If you do get the alimony you seek know that it could change if the paying spouse has a change in financial circumstances, or even a sudden medical condition that warrants a modification in alimony. Also, alimony will cease if you get married or if either spouse dies.
Whether it’s alimony or another family law issue like custody, divorce or adoption, Lightning Legal Group has an attorney here to help you. We are the proven experts in our field, and in New Mexico. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 505-247-2390.

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