When alimony is an issue in a New Mexico divorce, a Santa Fe Alimony attorney understands that it will be one of the most important and potentially contentious issues that need to be resolved. The resolution of this issue will have a profound financial impact on both spouses. The spouse obligated to pay support may worry about the impact alimony on his or her post-marriage standard of living and financial ability to support a new family. The recipient spouse might worry that the amount of spousal support ordered will be inadequate to financially rebuild and develop financial self-sufficiency. Alimony is such a critical issue for both parties in most divorces that we have provided some key facts that every divorcing party needs to know about spousal maintenance.
The process of calculating spousal support is far more complicated than determining child support.
While child support is the function of a statutorily mandated formula that has only a few variables that significantly impact the outcome, the judge has far more discretion when calculating alimony. The judge will consider a number of statutory factors that include:
• Length of the marriage
• The property and liabilities of each spouse
• Reasonable financial needs of each party based on the marital standard of living and insurance
• Age and health of the parties
• Good faith attempts of each party to be self-sufficient
• Prenuptial or ante-nuptial agreements
• Relative income of each party along with earning potential
• Marital property divided between the parties including property that is income producing
• Means of financial support available to the parties
Because judges have broad discretion when weighing these factors to determine the amount of alimony, parties need an experienced New Mexico alimony attorney who can advocate persuasively for an acceptable resolution to this issue.
Modification of alimony is possible but only under certain circumstances.
Many divorce parties who are not represented by an attorney can find this an extremely complex issue. If parties mistakenly believe that they can simply return to court and change an alimony award, they might agree to an amount that proves unacceptable over the long-term. If an alimony award is not “non-modifiable,” it can be changed. However, the party seeking such a change must establish a “substantial change of circumstances” to justify such a modification. This is a fairly exacting standard, which may preclude changes that the party seeking a change should have been aware of when alimony was initially determined. Our experienced New Mexico alimony attorneys offer a free consultation so that we can provide candid advice about your prospect of obtaining a modification of alimony.
Alimony awards should include consideration of the tax consequences.
Alimony will be taxable income for the recipient spouse and a deductible expense for the obligated spouse. When parties are negotiating property division and alimony, these tax consequences can have a significant impact on the fairness of the award so they need to be considered.
There, are only a few of the divorce issues involving alimony, which is one of the more complex areas of New Mexico divorce law. If you have more specific questions, you might want to speak with a knowledgeable Spousal support lawyer. The Lightning Legal Group offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque during which we discuss your situation and answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your free consultation 505.247.2390 to learn about your rights and options.
The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.