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Alimony Laws

Alimony is the term that denotes the obligation of one spouse in a marital separation or divorce to provide financial support to other. Upon the dissolution of a marriage, either party may move to seek alimony. While it is not an absolute right of either spouse, the court may grant alimony based on several factors and circumstances. Absent a written agreement of terms of divorce, the court may determine the alimony after hearing both sides to the case. Below are some of the questions alimony law questions answered by Experts.

Am I entitled to alimony in Maine?

There are several factors that will determine whether or not you will be granted alimony in Maine. Since alimony is not mandated by law, it would depend on the how needy the spouse seeking alimony is and whether the other spouse has the capacity to pay. Other factors such as the duration of your marriage, your capacity to find work or any disability that prevents you from doing so, and any other factors that the court may deem relevant goes to decided whether or not or how much alimony you will be paid. Also, typically, little or no alimony is given in marriages under five years in Maine.

If my divorce was in NJ, but I live in Pennsylvania, can I Since I have moved to have the non-payment of alimony case transferred to Pennsylvania? Despite telling the courts that it would be difficult for me to pay alimony, they have filed a case against me. What are my rights?

If you wish a reduction in the alimony payments that you are obliged to make, you will have to file a formal declaration of hardship with the court. Here, you will have to show proof of income on paper to convince the court that your financial status does not permit you to pay the stipulated sum in alimony. You may hire an accountant who is willing to be involved in a court case and write a sworn affidavit stating your inability to pay the alimony as per the court order. Once you receive this affidavit from the accountant, you may file a motion for reduction in the court.

If neither you nor your spouse resides in NJ, you may hire a local PA attorney to file an application in the family court for reducing your alimony. However, the PA court will not reverse the NJ court judgment without you furnishing the financial proofs.

Since I have life-long alimony payments in Florida, are there any states in the US or any other country where I can avoid paying alimony?

Whether in the US or any other country, you will be obliged to pay alimony irrespective of where you are. You will be held in contempt of court for failing to meet your obligations. Within the United States, any state can and will extradite you to another state for charges pending in that state. There are several countries that do not have an extradition treaty with the US. However, practically speaking, it is unlikely that you will be extradited from another country for non-payment of alimony.

I am currently paying both alimony and child support to my ex. However, since my ex has been working for more than six weeks now, can I stop paying?

You will not have the right to stop making payment on your own. In this case, you will have to petition the court for reduction in alimony and child support payments through a ‘Motion for Modification for Changed Circumstances’. You are obliged to pay the full amount till the court decides on the motion filed by you. Meanwhile, if you stop making the payments, the court may make you pay it in arrears where you will have to pay it either through wage garnishment or bank account garnishment.

Alimony payment, recovery and penalties are subject to the state law. Anyone who fails to pay alimony when there’s a clear ability to make payments will be held in contempt of court. Those who wish to recover alimony may have to go through a collection agency as per the law in their particular state. Finally, alimony varies from child support in that the latter relates to one parent’s obligation to contribute to the support of his/her children by paying money to the other parent or guardian. Speaking to Legal Experts may help understand your rights and obligations with regard to alimony under the law.

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Tina, Lawyer
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Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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