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Is Alimony the Same as Spousal Support?

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Navigating the realms of divorce is no easy task. There are the emotional burdens attached to the process, and with children, the process can become even more complicated and emotionally challenging. Organizing and grasping all the legal definitions and terminologies can grow old fast as one rapidly jettisons through adjusting to their new life with family. When it comes to alimony and spousal support, it seems like there is even more to worry about. Rest assured, the process does not have to feel so complicated, and there are many answers to many questions you may be wondering about.

What is the Difference Between Spousal Support and Alimony?

Alimony comes from the result of an ended marriage by means of divorce. One spouse might receive monetary support from the other spouse, typically if the spouse requesting support is unable to sustain themselves without the help of the other spouse. Spousal support is monetary support paid from one spouse to another following a divorce agreement or court order, often called “alimony” depending on the state. So, as one can see, they are indeed the same concept. Both are just a way of phrasing monetary support from one spouse to the other, for a set given of time, and for a determined amount of monetary support. Florida Statute labels this support as “Alimony.”

What You Should Know About Alimony

While it may be helpful to answer whether alimony and spousal support are the same, there are other aspects of alimony that are far more useful in making for a smooth understanding of what alimony is and how it looks in practice.

The purpose of alimony is to provide “reasonable and necessary support.”  This has been interpreted to mean that the receiving spouse should establish a need and the paying spouse should have the ability to make such payment.  Unless both factors are established no support will be ordered.  This needs amount is not arbitrary and must be supported by evidence. The agreed amount could possibly be more or less than the amount necessary. If there are disagreements regarding a needs amount, the court will decide how to most appropriately measure the amount. Typically, it will revolve around the physical condition and limitations the spouse needing support is found to be in. Accounting for the time necessary to re-enter the workforce is considered, as well as the earning potential of the spouse. Alimony can be determined to be temporary in some cases.  Alimony can be ordered as durational (period of time) lump sum (amount in total whether paid over a period of time or in one payment) bridge the gap (paid to establish a person in the workplace) permanent (paid without end date) and nominal alimony (an small amount paid that reserves the court’s jurisdiction to order proper alimony later should it be appropriate).  Additionally, alimony can be ordered to be modifiable or non-modifiable.

Alimony can be changed later on down the road in some cases, and as of 2018, is no longer tax deductible.  This change in the tax code may not effect older orders and an accountant can assist in that determination.  For the receiving spouse, the new tax rules ensures that alimony or spousal support is no longer taxed as income. In essence, the new tax rules make spousal support a more straightforward transfer of monetary funds from one spouse to the other.

Questions Regarding Spousal Support? Call Our Offices Today

Going through divorce is not an effortless task. There are the weights and pressures of new life, and the burdens carried through the process of relieving oneself from the old. Still, divorce should not be as challenging as it is made out to be. At Baginski & Brandt, our Port St. Lucie alimony attorneys care about your smooth transition, and as such are ready to help. For any questions or concerns revolving around divorce, please do not hesitate to contact our team of family law attorneys at 772-466-0707 today.

Resource:

irs.gov/taxtopics/tc452

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PORT ST. LUCIE, FL 34952
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Stuart, FL 34994
Fort Pierce By Appointment Only 311 S 2nd St., Suite 102b
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