Your Guide to Alimony in Mississippi

            While it is true that awards of alimony in divorce cases are much less common than they were a few decades ago, there are still plenty of current divorce cases in which one spouse is awarded alimony. If both you and your soon to be former spouse are earning enough income to support yourselves after your divorce, then an award of alimony to either of you is not likely. Likewise, if the financial needs of both you and your soon to be former spouse can be addressed through the property settlement in your divorce, it is unlikely that either of you will be required to pay alimony to the other.

            If, however, you and your spouse have vastly different amounts of income, it is possible that the court may award some form of alimony to one of you. In a divorce case, after the court goes through the process of identifying and dividing a couple’s marital property, it will contemplate whether any alimony should be awarded. The factors which the court considers in deciding whether to award alimony are set forth in Armstrong v. Armstrong, 618 So.2d 1278 (Miss. 1993).

            The factors which are set forth in the Armstrong case include a few things that you might expect the court to consider, such as the parties’ income, earning capacity, age, health, financial needs, whether there are minor children, and the length of the marriage. The court will also consider some other things which are relevant to the issue of alimony. For example, if the divorce is based on “fault” grounds, such as adultery, the fault or misconduct will be considered by the court in deciding whether or not to award alimony. Also, if either party wasted assets during the marriage, it will factor into the court’s decision. If a case has unique circumstances that would affect either party’s need for alimony, the court is free to consider any factors which it deems just and equitable.

            If the court decides to award alimony, the award can take many different forms. Permanent alimony is the payment of a certain amount of money each month until the recipient either dies or remarries. Permanent alimony has fallen out of favor because it creates a continuing obligation which can be the source of many disputes in the years following the divorce. There are other types of alimony which may be better suited for you then permanent alimony. Temporary alimony may be awarded while a divorce case is in process, with the understanding that the payments will stop once a final judgment is entered. Lump sum alimony can be used to make up the difference between the values of the shares of marital property that were granted in the property settlement if there was no way to distribute the property equitably. Rehabilitative alimony provides for payments over a specific time period in order to enable the recipient to get on their feet and enter the work force, for example. Attorneys and courts can also create “custom blends” of the different types of alimony in order to accomplish whatever is needed in any given divorce case.

           A Mississippi Divorce Attorney can help you to understand which kinds of alimony may be available to you, and they can help you to pursue an award of alimony that will meet your unique needs. Matthew S. Poole is an experienced Mississippi Divorce Attorney who is known for achieving favorable results for his clients. To find out how Matthew can help you, call our office today, at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free consultation.