Stillwater Alimony Attorney
No couples ever enter into a marriage with the thought that it will end in divorce. And the decision to divorce is almost never arrived at easily or quickly, as it is painful to divide a once loving, heartfelt union and break-up a family. Regardless of how the marriage unraveled, divorces are not only emotionally painful, but can be financially stressful as well. Amid pangs of heartache, anxieties lurk just below the surface about how one will be able to sustain themselves without the financial support of their partner.
Fortunately, Oklahoma law makes provisions for alimony, also called spousal support, to the financially needy spouse, which can help alleviate their monetary fears as they set forth to begin their new life. However, it is often extremely rare that the party paying the alimony does so without the prompting of an opposing spouse’s attorney, or in many cases, a court mandate.
At our office, we encourage couples to try to work out their differences when possible and view divorce as a last resort option only. We also recognize that when divorce becomes the only option, you need a skilled and aggressive Oklahoma alimony attorney, sympathetic to your needs that will assist you to ensure that you are armed with adequate financial protection as you move forward with your new life.
We have guided thousands of people through their divorces and are well versed in addressing and handling all spousal support and alimony issues. Some of the most common topics about alimony that we frequently address are set forth below.
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“I used James Murray for my divorce after 25 years. This has been my only time Ive needed a attorney. James was one of the best decisions ive made besides the divorce. He went above and beyond. I got everything i wanted plus. I have since sent many of my friends that need a attorney for any reason. James i thank you very much and will refer you because i believe you are the best in town.”
Alimony in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, alimony generally consists of monthly payments made by a financially secure spouse to the needy spouse, to provide them financial support during and/or after the divorce. The general aim behind spousal support is to harmonize the parties’ incomes to ensure that each spouse is able to live in a lifestyle or manner as they were accustomed to before the separation or divorce. Alimony is not gender specific, as it may be awarded to the husband or the wife, and is also available to same-sex couples as well. If you have questions about alimony in Oklahoma, contact an experienced Stillwater alimony attorney at our firm.
Types of Alimony Recognized in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law recognizes two types of alimony. The first, referred to as “spousal maintenance,” is temporary and payable from the time of separation until the final divorce is granted. The second type of alimony occurs post-divorce and is spelled out in the final divorce judgment. It may be short-term or long term.
The goal of short-term alimony is to provide financial support to the needy spouse until that party is able to financially provide for themselves again. It is commonly granted to parties who have been out of the workforce for an extended time period, or to those who need education, or special job training, that will permit them to earn and provide for themselves. Long-term alimony is most commonly awarded to a disabled spouse or an older spouse who has never been a part of the workforce, or who lacks a meaningful earning capacity.
Alimony is generally satisfied through regular monthly payments for a set amount, but can also be awarded in the form of a lump sum, or a property conveyance, such as the marital home, as well.
Factors That Determine an Alimony Award
There is no predetermined formula that guides a court’s decision to award alimony. Nor is there a formula instructing the court how much to award. And courts only step in if negotiations between the parties fail and they cannot agree upon the terms or amount of alimony to be paid. Oklahoma case law delineates several factors and considerations to be weighed in determining the type and amount of alimony a party must pay. In many instances, the duration of the parties’ marriage will be the guiding factor in that determination. However, courts also consider the party’s needs, financial means, age, physical heath, educational background, earning capacity, manner of living to which the party was accustomed during the course of the marriage, the other party’s ability to pay, property distribution, and premarital property held by each spouse prior to the marriage.
Most notably absent for consideration is fault or misconduct that occurred during the marriage. This means that factors such as spousal abuse or adultery are not factored-in by courts in making an alimony determination.
Can an Award of Alimony Be Modified?
Alimony awards may be modified. In order for a modification to occur, a party must petition the court for a modification and then demonstrate a “material change” in circumstances, which drastically decreases or increases the income or living expenses of one or both of the parties. Losing a high paying job or acquiring a permanent disability may be found to satisfy this standard. But remember, every case is unique and discretion is left in the hands of the court as to whether a specific circumstance amounts to a “material” change such that the original alimony award should be altered. If you are interested in getting your award of alimony modified, contact an experienced Stillwater alimony attorney at our firm.
Ending Alimony Payments
There is no hard and fast rule as to when alimony will expire, apart from the death of either party or the remarriage of a receiving party. In cases where the party paying the alimony dies, the receiving spouse has a 90-day window to petition the estate to pay any unpaid back alimony that is then due and owing. If a spouse who receives alimony remarries, they have a 90 window to petition the court not to terminate their alimony and must demonstrate good cause as to why their spousal support should continue.
There are a myriad of factors and circumstances that go into the determination of whether or not a party receives alimony, how much they are to receive, and how long it will last. Absent an agreement by the parties, alimony is never a guarantee if left up to the courts. If you are contemplating a divorce or already in the process, call us today so that we can address your alimony concerns and ensure that you get the best possible outcome that you deserve.
Frequently Asked Alimony Questions
What is support alimony?
Sometimes when parties are going through a divorce, the question becomes, is support alimony going to be ordered, or is it something that can be requested? Support alimony in the state of Oklahoma is intended to allow one party to transition economically and cushion that economic impact to a state of independence, where they’re going from having been married and potentially financially dependent on the spouse, to a period where they need to be financially independent. Alimony can be awarded to allow that transition to be a little easier. In doing so, the court will consider a number of factors, including the need of the party requesting it and the ability of the other spouse to pay that requested amount. Then there will be a factual evidentiary finding to determine whether any amount should be ordered.
Will I have to pay support alimony?
If you’re concerned about whether support alimony will be ordered in your divorce action, whether you’ll be receiving it or whether you’ll be required to pay that alimony, there’s no set formula in the state of Oklahoma. It’s going to be an analysis based on the financial resources available to both parties, unlike child support, which will be set through a child support calculator guideline table. You’ll have to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to determine whether you will be required to pay support alimony or whether you will be entitled to receive support alimony.
How are alimony payments determined in Oklahoma?
If one party in a divorce has made a request for alimony, the question often becomes, how are alimony payments going to be determined? In Oklahoma, it’s generally a factual issue, where the party requesting alimony says they have a need for the financial support, and the other party that would be paying is stating whether they have the ability to pay that financial request. In doing so, the court will assess all of the factors, and it’s important that the party that is requested to pay alimony prepare a budget that will show whether they have the ability to even pay the requested amount. Likewise, the requesting party should prepare a budget of what their monthly expenses are, what their monthly income is, and how this requested amount will help transition them into a state of independence after the divorce proceeds on.
How long does alimony last in Oklahoma?
When there’s an alimony award that one spouse pays another support for a period of time, it is not a clear cut determination about how long that will last. It’s a case-by-case factual assessment that we’ll have to assess with your case specifically. What happens is the court needs to at least set what’s considered a sub-certain amount, which will be paid out in a monthly amount, for a period of however many months, as the court orders to conclude with a final, total number. Again, it will be dependent on financial resources and requirements of both parties to the case.
Will I have to pay alimony to my unemployed spouse?
Oftentimes in a divorce action, there’s a request for alimony that one spouse pay the other a monthly maintenance amount for a certain period of time. That can last months. It can even last years. The amount to be determined will be contingent on financial resources of both parties, as well as a list of factors that the court will consider that’s been enumerated in various case law. The question is if the other spouse requesting alimony hasn’t worked or doesn’t work, are they entitled to receive alimony? Well, it’ll be a case-by-case basis, where you will have to assess the factors surrounding why the party doesn’t work that’s requesting alimony. Oftentimes, it’s been a situation where a mother has been a stay-at-home mom or a father has been a stay-at-home father caring for the children. In that case, that won’t prohibit that party from receiving alimony just because they don’t hold employment. Again, that’s something that you’ll have to assess with an experienced divorce attorney to determine whether it is an appropriate claim for you to make.
How can I do if my ex fails to pay alimony?
If you’re ex-spouse has been ordered to pay you support alimony payments but fails to do so, the question becomes, how can you get them to comply with that order? Your attorney can file what’s called an application for contempt citation against them, alleging they failed to pay alimony as ordered by the decree. In doing so, the case will either result in the spouse paying the alimony or you’ll have a trial, where the court may determine them to be found guilty and in contempt of court, and that can potentially result in jail time of that ex-spouse. You have to hire an experienced divorce attorney to see what your options are.
Contact Our Stillwater Alimony Attorney
A divorce is a painful, life-altering event, and no time to go at it on your own! We always encourage our clients to pursue reconciliation, where possible. We never want to see a good family unnecessarily split-up. However, when divorce becomes the only option, you need representation, and we will stand strong for you. We are highly skilled and experienced attorneys that center our practice on divorce and domestic relations. We will make sure that you get the best possible outcome.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Stillwater alimony attorney so that we may help ease your anxieties and begin going to work to provide you the best possible outcome during this difficult time.
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