Mistakes to Avoid During Alimony Negotiations

As a Rhode Island resident going through a divorce, I’m sure you are aware that you’re not alone. No matter your reason for divorce, one of the most contentious issues that may arise in any divorce is the subject of alimony.

Alimony payments—also known in some states as “spousal support” or “maintenance” is the legal obligation that a supporting spouse pay to the supported spouse. In Rhode Island, alimony is not favored and is only awarded in limited circumstances. Rhode Island Judges can only award Alimony if it is rehabilitative in nature. The Court is specifically prohibited from awarding Alimony for reimbursement, to Equalize incomes or maintain a lifestyle.

When a spouse is in need of additional education or job training to become financially independent, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for a brief period of time to assist the recipient in becoming self-sufficient and self-supporting.

In short-term marriages, those lasting less than five years, you should not expect to receive Alimony.

If a party is disabled, then a Court may consider an award of open ended alimony. This is rare, but can happen if a person has been recognized as disabled, (for instance by SSI) and they are unable to support themselves.

More times than not, one spouse will have to pay the other a set amount of money, at least temporarily. Both parties should be aware of the following mistakes.

Mistake #1
Many people are under the false assumption that if they spend a lot of money before going to court, they will have to pay less. However, alimony is typically determined by income, not assets. Hiding money with a large purchase won’t work, and might be better spent on divorce-related expenses.

Mistake #2
The desire to pay out alimony payments in larger sums to pay over a shorter term is understandable. However, paying more over a shorter amount of time may not be in the best interest of the spouse paying. There are some advantages of long-term payments. For example, if the alimony receiving spouse begins to cohabitate or marries another person, your alimony may cease and then alimony paying spouse may be off the hook for alimony payments sooner and having paid less. If you’re considering opting for short-term payments, be aware it may not work to your advantage.

Mistake #3
Too often, divorcing couples fail to take care of mental and physical health while only focusing on fiscal health. Divorce is a trying time for many. Gaining support from friends, family, or a therapist will help ensure you are of sound mind when dealing with heightened times of stress. By giving yourself adequate and proper care, you will be better capable of making informed decisions about your long-term finances.

If you need legal guidance or advice on the intricacies of alimony, our highly skilled team is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our office at any point during your divorce process.