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Alimony Attorneys at O'Flaherty Law

Not All Alimony Lawyers are the Same

If you are seeking alimony, also known as spousal support, in a divorce, you must take a proactive approach to the situation. It is virtually guaranteed that most of the time, the other side will fight hard to pay no alimony or as little as possible. If you sit and do nothing about the issue of alimony, it is unlikely you will be awarded all that you need or deserve to restart your life as a single person. Failing to aggressively pursue alimony, or spousal support as it is known in some states, can leave you in an exceedingly difficult position once your marriage is over, struggling to make ends meet. Having spousal support awarded is a crucial step to take in the divorce process. O'Flaherty Law has experienced alimony attorneys who can help you get the best result in court. An alimony lawyer from O'Flaherty Law working for you is your best strategy to get what you need and deserve from your divorce.

O'Flaherty Law Alimony Attorneys - What We Can Offer

With our divorce law team you can rest assured that you are getting the best legal advice, we offer legal representation and advice in he following aspects of family law matter.

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Remote Consultation

Covid-19 shouldn’t put your legal needs on hold. You can receive a consultation and most legal services without leaving your home. Our attorneys are happy to speak to you by phone, video conference, or e-mail.

Divorce lawyers

Divorce Lawyers

Our divorce law team has experienced lawyers knowledgeable in each area of divorce. Backed up by paralegals and legal assistants, we are a complete divorce law firm.

Child support

Child Support

Child support is a complex matter and point of significant distress during the divorce process. Still each parent has a responsibility to support their children after divorce or separation. We help you simplify the process.

Child custody

Child Custody

Child custody matters are difficult for everyone involved in the divorce process. To get the best result for your child or children, you need experienced legal service from child custody attorneys that understand the law.

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Family Law

When you are trying to deal with a family law issue or are considering adoption, it is essential that you have an experienced family law attorney on your side to guide you through the process.

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Our Family Law and Divorce Attorneys are Here to Guide You Through the Alimony Process

The team at O'Flaherty Law will be at your side every step of the way during the alimony process. From the initial consult to the final alimony order, we will be able to give you the support you need while the court considers your alimony case. We will work hard to get you the best possible result to help you start a new life. While divorce is always stressful, the issue of support after the divorce decree is entered can be contentious, with both sides fighting hard in court about whether alimony should even be paid, how much, and how long. You do not need to fight that battle alone; get an experienced alimony attorney to help secure the financial support you need to start your new life after divorce.

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Attorney Consultation

The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good first for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.

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What to Expect  from Your Alimony Attorney

Even though divorce is quite common, people often fail to understand that going to court for any reason is a competition. You have things you want the court to award you; you need to present a solid and persuasive case to get those things. If you have specific goals for your divorce order, and most people do, you need to have a team working for you to help you reach those goals. The alimony attorneys at O'Flaherty Law are the best in the field for helping you get the best possible result in court. With years of experience, an open-door communication policy with clients, and skilled support staff, O'Flaherty Law can offer the aggressive and highly competent representation you need to achieve your goals.

Securing Alimony

Securing alimony

The court will look at several factors when deciding to award alimony, how much alimony to award, and the length of alimony. There are a few different types of alimony. Only in rare circumstances will the court award permanent alimony to a spouse. Usually, alimony is only awarded to support the spouse who needs time to become self-sufficient or to recompense them in some way for their efforts on behalf of the family during the marriage. Having a seasoned alimony attorney in charge of your case will increase your chances of getting the best possible result.

Factors Affecting Alimony

Factors affecting alimony

If you ask for alimony in your divorce, there will be factors working for you and factors working against you. Most courts do not use a set formula to determine spousal support but instead, look at a variety of factors in making their determination.

First, the court will look at the length of the marriage. When the marriage is a short-term marriage, the court is unlikely to award any substantial alimony absent extreme circumstances. The court will also look at the spouse's educational level; if they have a good education that will assist them in finding suitable work, it lessens the likelihood of alimony being awarded. The court also considers the ability of the requesting spouse to reenter the workforce (if they have been absent) or procure a job that will enable them to take care of themselves financially. If both spouses work, the court might also consider the difference in the incomes and the needs of the requesting spouse when deciding to award alimony.

When Child Support Needs to be Modified Due to a Change in Circumstances

When the party who pays child support experiences a change in circumstances child support will need to be recalculated and a modification ordered. The reasons for modification are typically that the party paying the support has received an increase in income either from their employment or sometimes after receiving an inheritance. On the other side of the coin, if the party paying child support is fired or experiences a decrease in income, they will also need to request a child support modification from the court or be in danger of accumulating child support arrears, which can be very difficult to recover from financially and comes with many potential penalties. Child support payments must be made in the same amount until the modification order is entered.

Calculating Alimony or Spousal Support

The terms “alimony” and “spousal support” mean the same thing. There is no difference between alimony and spousal support. Some states use a formula, some do not. O’Flaherty Law provides legal services in Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and all these states do not use a formula to calculate alimony. O’Flaherty Law also provides legal services in Illinois, and Illinois does use a formula to calculate alimony and bases the length of the alimony payments on the length of the marriage.

Try not to use an online calculator to determine what, if any alimony you might pay or receive. There are many factors at play when alimony is being considered by the court and your alimony attorney will be able to evaluate your circumstances and give you a better idea of what you can expect.

Types of Alimony

Types of alimony in divorce

There are four types of alimony that can be awarded.

Temporary Alimony-this is alimony for you while the divorce is going through the court system. It is not permanent and will end when the divorce is finalized. It recognizes the fact that some divorces can take quite a long time to be finished and one spouse may need the support to live off of in the meantime. If the court choses to award you with more alimony the terms of that alimony will be described in the final decree of divorce.

Rehabilitative Alimony-another type of temporary support, it is meant to sustain one spouse while they work to become self-supporting. It is a more common alimony award. It is meant to help the spouse make the transition from married life to a single, self-supporting life. It is not intended to be permanent and will end at a predetermined time set by the court. This type of alimony is typically paired with one of the other types of alimony that can be awarded.

Reimbursement Alimony- this is a type of alimony that is used to reimburse one spouse who made a significant financial contribution to the other spouse during the marriage. An example of this would be one spouse working and supporting the family while the other spouse went to law school. Since once spouse made it possible for the other spouse to earn a higher income and thus, enjoy a certain lifestyle, there is a good possibility that the court will also believe that the effort should be reimbursed.

Permanent Alimony-when the marriage is a long-term marriage (typically ten years or more) and the spouse requesting alimony is highly unlikely to enter the workforce and become self-sufficient, the court may choose to award permanent alimony. Permanent alimony does end, either upon the death of one of the former spouses or upon remarriage by the spouse receiving alimony.

Modifying Alimony and Terminating Alimony

Modifying or terminating alimony with divorce lawyer

Modification:
In order to ask the court for alimony to be modified, the party requesting the modification should be able to show a change in circumstances. This applies to either the payor or the payee of the alimony. A change in income is the most prevalent change in circumstances, either the spouse paying the alimony had experienced a decrease or the spouse receiving alimony has experienced an increase in income.

Termination:
Of course, alimony terminates upon the death of one of the former spouses. Alimony can also have a preset end date that is ordered by court. Some, but not all, states also halt alimony upon remarriage. In some states, like Illinois, cohabitation of the spouse receiving alimony will end the alimony. Additionally, if the language of your divorce decree addresses alimony ceasing upon remarriage, that is what you will have to abide by. If there is a reason for alimony to terminate, such as remarriage or cohabitation, you cannot simply stop paying, you will need to request that the court terminate alimony. If the reason for termination is remarriage, you will need to demonstrate the meaningful change in circumstances, just like you would if you were asking the court to modify alimony. As soon as you become aware of either remarriage or cohabitation by the spouse receiving alimony, notify your attorney so that the appropriate steps can be taken to terminate alimony.

Enforcing Alimony

Awarding alimony divorce

Alimony is awarded in a court order. If your ex-spouse is not paying the alimony that the court has ordered, you can ask the court for an enforcement order. Eventually, if your ex-spouse continues to not pay the court-ordered alimony you can ask the court to find your ex-spouse in contempt of court. Contempt of court has severe consequences, and, in extreme cases, can mean fines or even jail time if the ex-spouse does not comply with the order. The court will usually give the non-paying spouse time to get back on track with payment, but they must become current on their payments and pay any fines imposed by the court and possibly attorney's costs and fees as well. Alimony payments can be enforced across state lines so if your former spouse moved to another state, it is not a protection from the order to pay alimony being enforced.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alimony and Spousal Maintenance

We encourage you to ask as many questions as possible during the divorce process. We want you to be fully informed every step of the way. We also want you to be able to come out of the divorce process feeling satisfied and that everything has been finalized, leaving you free to move on with the next chapter of your life. Although we will be available to you to answer all your questions, here are a few of the most commonly asked.

What Qualifies a Woman or Man for Alimony?

In a marriage, both the spouses become accustomed to a certain standard of living and divorce changes that. If there is a large economic disparity between spouses, then the courts want to address that. The courts in general are concerned that getting a divorce could create a situation where one of the spouses cannot take care of themselves financially and they end up living in poverty. This general principle along with the factors affecting alimony discussed above are what “qualify” a man or a woman for alimony.

Why Does a Spouse Get Alimony?

For all the reasons discussed earlier in this page. The court will evaluate if the divorce leaves one spouse at a severe economic disadvantage and, if that is the case, the court will award financial assistance in the form of alimony to the disadvantaged spouse. A lot of the time alimony is only for a set period, to allow the spouse to become self-supporting. A few policy reasons behind this is to ensure that getting a divorce doesn’t leave one spouse in poverty or to level the playing field for spouses who are scared to divorce because of the economic impact it will have on their lives.

What Happens if a Husband or Wife Refuses to Pay Alimony?

You will have to request that the court issue an enforcement order. If the ex-spouse still refuses to pay the court ordered alimony, the court can find them in contempt of court. Furthermore, the court can enter a money judgment against the non-paying spouse that will be subject to interest, liens and attorney's costs and fees. In more extreme cases, there could potentially be jail time for the contempt of court.

What Should You Never Put in Your Trust?

Your retirement and your life insurance (you can’t retitle in the name of your trust) would be considered a complete withdrawal of those funds and you would have to pay tax on them. An exception to this rule is if you are creating a Medicaid Protection Trust, you can move retirement assets into that if you and your attorney agree that is in your best interests. Additionally, you probably don’t want to bother putting your vehicle in a trust, unless it is some type of collectible car that you want to be passed on after your death. Do not put health or medical saving accounts in a trust, they are actually already trusts themselves.

Does a Spouse Get Alimony if They Cheated?

Adultery is not typically a factor when the court determines alimony. Many states are no fault states, and the issue of alimony and adultery are two separate legal issues. Do not think of alimony as being a “punishment” or a “reward” to one spouse, rather it is considered assistance to the spouse who is granted alimony, to help them keep their life together after the divorce, while they work to establish themselves as an independent single person.  
If, during an affair, a spouse has drained the marital estate of significant resources the court might order that the spouse reimburse the estate in some way, but this would be a rare occurrence and there would have to be considerable proof presented to the court that the court could rely on to make such an order.

What is the Difference Between Spousal Support, Alimony, and Maintenance?

There is no difference between the three terms. Spousal support, alimony and maintenance are just different titles for the same thing, depending on what your state chooses to use.

Does Alimony Count as Income?

Alimony used to count as taxable income, but it no longer does. You cannot claim alimony as income.

Is Alimony Taxable?

No, since alimony is not considered income any longer it is not taxable.

Can You Receive Alimony After a Civil Union?

Yes, some states will award alimony when a civil union is dissolved. After a civil union is dissolved a final order is entered. If the final order awards alimony to one partner, it is an enforceable order and non-payment can result in being found in contempt of court.

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