Family law is a field of the law that specifically deals with domestic relations and family matters. Alimony is one of the many issues, family courts consider when dealing with divorce settlements. Alimony is also known as spousal support and is a payment made by one spouse to another after a divorce or separation. Alimony is intended to assist the lower paying spouse maintain his/her standard of living as well as the other spouse, who are the primary wage earner.
There are a number of circumstances that may lead to a request for alimony. For example, a couple may enter into a civil union in which case the spouses must obtain legal separation at the conclusion of the marriage. In some cases, couples decide to get a divorce even though they are married, only to find themselves ineligible for alimony because either the state bar to file the divorce or the couple may not have been married in the state for a specific period of time. In these situations, the court will attempt to find an action by which to remit alimony.
When a party is seeking alimony it is not the same as child support. Child support is set forth by a federal law known as the “child support cap.” The federal government provides assistance to single parents who wish to raise their children and provide them with a financially secure home. Alimony is paid by the person who is paying for it and is not necessarily determined by factors as comprehensive as income. Alimony is typically awarded at the discretion of the judge based upon the judge’s assessment of each spouse’s financial ability to provide for the needs of the children. Although alimony is occasionally ordered by the family court, it is very rare.
There are a few other areas of the law in which family law specialists can be found. A criminal law specialist is a lawyer who deals exclusively with criminal law. These types of lawyers deal with crime, including the criminal conviction of a person for a crime. These include murder, manslaughter, arson, assault, child pornography, sex crimes, and drug crimes. Other types of criminal law include fraud, battery, DUI/DWI (driving under the influence/ Driving while intoxicated), and other felonies.
Many states use what is called a non-custodial parent form when calculating alimony or spousal support. This is because non-custodial parents are not financially related to the custodial parent and are not obligated to pay child support or alimony. Alimony may be awarded between the parents, but this is not a legal binding. Each state has its own definitions of alimony and/or spousal support and the information is contained in the divorce decree, judgment, or application.
Divorce can be a difficult and stressful time for both the divorcing couple and their children. If you are in the process of a divorce or if you are a former spouse who is seeking a divorce, consult with a family law attorney to determine your individual rights. The best way to approach family law issues is to speak with an attorney who is familiar with the local laws. They will be able to answer any questions or concern you may have regarding child custody, visitation, child support, division of assets and other family law issues. In some cases, the divorce may be contested and it is advisable to speak with an attorney who has experience in these types of cases.