In many divorce cases, one of the parties is in need of monetary support after the conclusion of the divorce case. This is known as "support alimony." The purpose of an award of support alimony is to allow one spouse, who has been economically disadvantaged during the course of a marriage, the opportunity to provide for himself or herself after a divorce is granted. No Oklahoma divorce court is required to enter an award of support alimony, and the court may do so only where a party can demonstrate both the need for alimony and the opposing party's ability to pay such an award. Alimony is not warranted in every case and cannot be utilized by the court to punish a party for his or her transgressions during the course of the marriage.
Although there are no specific factors used by the court in determining whether alimony is awarded, the court commonly evaluates:
The most common scenario involving an award of support alimony involves one party who has foregone employment opportunities or advancement for the benefit of the marriage. A stay-at-home mom or dad who raises the children and manages the home while his or her spouse earns income through a career is an example of a person who may be entitled to alimony.
A party who has been a homemaker in a long term marriage may be entitled to an award of support alimony because he or she has performed the hard work of rearing children and providing a more stable home environment rather than spending time in the workforce. The law recognizes that the uncompensated work that is performed by men and women in this situation can be of great importance to a career-driven spouse, and an award of support alimony is warranted when the party in a superior economic position has the means to provide post-divorce assistance.
Another important factor in determining whether an award of support alimony should be awarded is the amount and duration of the award. To properly prepare for such a request, a party must have a firm grasp on his or her current financial needs. He or she must be able to present the divorce court with a clear picture of exactly how much support alimony is required and how long those payments should last. Additionally, many courts want to know exactly how the party requesting support alimony intends to reenter the workforce and what his or her long-term financial goals are.
Property Division Alimony is a cash payment made to a party in order to offset an award of real or personal property to the opposing party. For example, if the Petitioner in a divorce case is awarded possession of the marital home, which has equity of $50,000.00, the Respondent could be awarded Property Division Alimony in the amount of $25,000.00 as his or her share of the equity in the home. The court has wide latitude in making awards of property division alimony and can require the awards be paid in a lump sum or in installment payments over time.
When our attorneys litigate support alimony issues, we work directly with our clients to establish these financial goals. We also map out the necessary steps our clients need to take in order to become financially independent. In our experience, clients who have well-defined financial goals and who have developed a plan to achieve those goals are more likely to receive an award of alimony.
Those same experiences have allowed our divorce attorneys to successfully defend against frivolous claims for support alimony. We ask the tough questions of parties requesting support alimony and make sure that the court deciding your case knows whether your spouse actually needs help adjusting to life after divorce or is simply trying to grab as much cash as he or she can.
If you are involved in a divorce case involving a request for support alimony, call the Law Firm of Oklahoma today for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys can answer any questions you have about the likelihood of an award of support alimony, and we can establish a game plane to help you protect your financial interests.