Alimony Attorney in Fayetteville, AR
Alimony aka Spousal Support is awarded in Arkansas.
The 2 factors a Court will consider in a request for alimony are (1) Is there a need for alimony and (2) Is there an ability to pay alimony. You won’t get to the 2nd factor (ability to pay) unless you establish the 1st factor.
“The purpose of alimony is to rectify the economic imbalance in earning power and standard of living of the parties to divorce in light of particular facts of each case.” Burns v Burns, 2011 Ark. App. 312, 383 S.W.3d 458.
DISCRETION OF THE COURT IS VERY SIGNIFICANT WITH REGARD TO ALIMONY. EXPERIENCED LAWYERS KNOW WHICH JUDGES ARE MORE INCLINED THAN OTHERS TO CONSIDER AN AWARD OF ALIMONY.
There is no mathematical formula in calculating alimony. Judges are given significant discretion and flexibility on the issue. This is a most definite “Know Your Judge” issue. Good lawyers who have litigated the alimony issue frequently can better “handicap” an alimony award. Yes, I said “handicap” as used in the gambling/betting arena. Sadly that is what we are left with given the total lack of statutory law and case law on this issue.
1. Know what your judge thinks about alimony.
2. Be able to prove you have a need for alimony.
3. Be able to prove an ability to pay from the other party.
4. Hope that the planets align right.
There are so many misconceptions about alimony, aka spousal support, running rampant through the avenues of Arkansas. Yes, alimony does exist. No, it is not a given.
ALIMONY WATERS ARE DEEP. HIRE AN ATTORNEY WHO KNOWS HOW TO SWIM.
Alimony is based on a PROVEN NEED and a PROVEN ABILITY TO PAY. There is no scientific formula to calculate how much, if any, alimony a person might and get and, if so, for how long. This is a case-by-case situation.
Unfortunately, because this is one of this issues that is within the “Court’s discretion” it is very difficult to give a client an educated guess at their chances of paying alimony or getting alimony. In the same Courthouse in any given County, you will have a Judge who is known to be heavy handed with “long term alimony” and a Judge who is “rarely known, if ever, to give an award of alimony.
So much rides on the parties’ ACCURATE Affidavits of Financial Means. Research carefully and be ready to back up what your income or earning ability are and what your REASONABLE living expenses might be. Many attorneys have their clients inflate, based on our experience, their client’s reasonable living expenses, whether you are the potential payor or payee. The Court relies heavily on the accuracy of your numbers so be prepared to back them up with documentation or other trustworthy evidence. Go through your credit card receipts and bank records to see what you have spent on NECESSARY living expenses over a period of time. Work long and hard to make sure your Affidavit is accurate and trustworthy.
There are two types of alimony in Arkansas: rehabilitative alimony and long term alimony.
If you are a candidate for rehabilitative alimony you need to be prepared to present the Court with a plan for rehabilitating your income ability, the cost of this rehabilitation and the duration of same. If you have been married 40 years and your spouse has stayed home to raise the kids, helped put you through graduate school and ironed your underwear, you might pay alimony for a longer period of time. If your alimony is Court Ordered (Judge hears the evidence regarding need and ability to pay and renders a decision as to whether alimony will be paid and, if so, how much and how long) there are provisions that will terminate your alimony. See A.C.A. § 9-12-312 , which states, in pertinent part:
- (1) When a decree is entered, the court shall make an order concerning the care of the children, if there are any, and an order concerning alimony, if applicable, as are reasonable from the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case.
- (2) Unless otherwise ordered by the court or agreed to by the parties, the liability for alimony shall automatically cease upon the earlier of:
- (A) The date of the remarriage of the person who was awarded the alimony;
- (B) The establishment of a relationship that produces a child or children and results in a court order directing another person to pay support to the recipient of alimony, which circumstances shall be considered the equivalent of remarriage;
- (C) The establishment of a relationship that produces a child or children and results in a court order directing the recipient of alimony to provide support of another person who is not a descendant by birth or adoption of the payer of the alimony, which circumstances shall be considered the equivalent of remarriage;
- (D) The living full time with another person in an intimate, cohabitating relationship;
- (E) The death of either party; or
- (F) Any other contingencies as set forth in the court order awarding alimony.
Alimony waters are deep. Make sure you hire an attorney who knows how to swim.