An alimony lawyer is a legal professional specializing in issues related to spousal support or maintenance. In an alimony agreement, one spouse must make regular payments to the other spouse based on the divorce decree. These payments can be short term, long term, or provided for a specific expense. If the payments are expense related, they are usually designed for improving education or job skills, helping the lower wage earner improve their financial situation.
Alimony lawyers deal in issues of family law. To become a family law attorney in the United States, lawyers must first graduate from law school then pass the bar exam. Most then take a job at a family law practice where they able to confer on child support cases, paternity suits, divorce meditation, and marital property division. Some, however, go to work for firms that exclusively handle alimony cases. Consulting a lawyer with expertise in spousal guidelines is recommended to protect legal rights and understand all alimony options during a divorce.
With knowledge of spousal guidelines, an alimony lawyer works to determine the contribution each spouse made to the marriage. An alimony lawyer will gather information on the years married, children requiring support, income earned, physical and mental well-being of each party, property owed, debts incurred, and future earning potential to determine if a family court judge is likely to order alimony and a reasonable amount to ask for.
Before a divorce is finalized, alimony lawyers may assist with getting temporary orders of alimony. They also assist their clients in getting alimony awarded that was originally denied due to an error by the court. In cases where the divorce has turned bitter, an alimony lawyer might work to find assets a spouse is withholding.
One of the areas where alimony lawyers provide consultation is when a spouse refuses to pay the court ordered alimony. Alimony lawyers can file a motion of contempt and force the court to order the payments. As financial situations change for either spouse, the advice of an alimony lawyer can help get an agreement modified or terminated. Typically, courts terminate alimony when spouses remarry or cohabitate.
When parties are splitting amicably, an alimony lawyer can draw up a separation agreement that outlines the alimony payments, and get the agreement court ordered to prevent any difficulties. To ensure an amicable split before a marriage even starts, an alimony lawyer can write out a premarital agreement. With a premarital agreement in hand, most of the issues raised in a divorce have already been settled, including how much alimony the primary income holder agrees to pay if divorce occurs.