Spousal Support vs. Alimony Explained
Are you curious about the difference between spousal support vs. alimony? Perhaps you’ve heard these terms thrown around, but you’re not quite sure what they mean. Today we will break down spousal support and alimony, shedding light on their definitions, purposes, and legal implications. Whether you’re contemplating separation or already going through a divorce, please read on for a clear understanding of how spousal support and alimony work.
The Difference Between Spousal Support vs. Alimony
“Spousal support” and “alimony” are two terms that often come up in the divorce or separation context. While they are generally interchangeable, some people use them in different contexts.
Again, generally, spousal support and alimony are both used to refer to payments made by one spouse to the other either during or following divorce. Alimony is not gender specific — it can be paid from husband to wife, wife to husband, wife to wife, or husband to husband. That said, sometimes people use “spousal support” to refer specifically to financial assistance provided before the court finalizes the divorce.
On the other hand, for some people, “alimony” refers specifically to financial support provided after a divorce. It is a legal obligation to support a spouse financially, usually for a predetermined period of time.
Finally, in Connecticut, the terms spousal support and alimony are most often used interchangeably.
Tax Implications of Spousal Support vs. Alimony
In Connecticut, there’s no difference in the tax treatment of spousal support vs. alimony following recent changes in tax laws. That said, it’s crucial to stay informed about the tax implications of spousal support or alimony to ensure compliance with the law and avoid any unexpected financial consequences. Consult with an experienced divorce attorney and tax professional.
Read: Alimony & Taxes
Alternatives to Spousal Support and Alimony
While spousal support and alimony are common forms of financial assistance in divorce or separation cases, they are not the only options available. Depending on the circumstances, there may be alternative solutions that can meet the financial needs of both parties.
One alternative to periodic spousal support or alimony is a lump-sum payment. This involves one spouse making a single payment to the other spouse to resolve the financial components of the divorce or separation. Lump-sum alimony can provide a clean break and eliminate the need for ongoing support payments.
Another alternative is via the division of assets. Instead of awarding spousal support or alimony in addition to property division, the court may choose to divide the marital assets in a way that provides for the financial needs of both parties. This can include the division of real estate, investments, retirement accounts, and other assets.
A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you explore all the options and determine the best course of action.
Read: Lump Sum Alimony
Modifying or Terminating Spousal Support and Alimony
In Connecticut, spousal support and alimony orders can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances. This depends on what’s contained in the divorce orders themselves and the Connecticut statutes and case law. An experienced family lawyer can analyze the orders and facts and your case and give you insights and options.
Some common reasons for modifying or terminating spousal support or alimony include:
- Substantial Change in Financial Circumstances: If a spouse experiences a significant change in financial circumstances, such as a job loss or a substantial decrease in income, it may be possible to modify the support order.
- Cohabitation or remarriage: The court may modify or terminate spousal support if the alimony recipient lives with another person, altering the alimony recipient’s financial needs.
- Expiration of the support term: If spousal support or alimony was awarded for a specific duration, generally speaking, it will automatically terminate at the end of that period unless otherwise specified in the court order.
- Death of either party: In the unfortunate event of either spouse’s passing, spousal support or alimony obligations typically cease.
Of course, these are just general guidelines. It’s important to consult with a Connecticut family law attorney to understand the specific rules and procedures for modifying or terminating spousal support or alimony in your case.
Reach out to work with a family law attorney who can provide personalized guidance and help you approach your divorce or separation with confidence and clarity