Paying Spousal Support in DC 

Alimony is a court-ordered support payment paid by a higher-earning spouse to a lower-earning spouse after the marriage ends. It is important to note that Washington, DC’s divorce and support payment laws are gender-neutral, so either a man or woman may be ordered to pay spousal support to their former spouse.

Alimony is also known as spousal support payment. If you are going through a divorce, get in touch with an intelligent spousal support lawyer who can answer any questions you have about paying spousal support in DC.

Process of Determining Alimony Amount

The amount of alimony that is ultimately awarded may be determined by the parties themselves, either through negotiations during the divorce proceeding or by a valid marital agreement that was defined and executed by both parties either before or during the marriage.

Any agreement that the spouses can come to will be enforced by the law or by the court, but if the court is charged with determining what an ultimate award of alimony will be, they have to consider any relevant factor in making a determination of what will be just and proper under the law.

It must be fair and equitable, and the factors that a judge must consider include the ability of the spouse seeking alimony to be self-supporting, the marital standard of living, the length of the marriage, and the spouses’ ages and physical conditions, among many other factors.  It is important to note that court considers the circumstances that contributed to the breakdown of the relationship as one of the factors in ruling on spousal support.

When is Alimony Awarded?

Alimony is generally awarded when the marriage was established and lasted for a substantial period of time and one spouse became accustomed to financial support from the other and is unable to financially support themselves once the marriage has ended. It is often awarded if one spouse made sacrificed their career or their education for the good of the marriage.

Examples of this are when a spouse quits their job to stay home with the children, or when a spouse does not complete a higher degree in order to support the financially earning spouse in their job. The longer the marriage lasted and the greater the financial debt or earnings potential gap between the spouses, the more likely that alimony will be awarded.

How Alimony is Paid

The actual process of paying spousal support in DC is more flexible than people realize. Alimony can be paid in any way that the spouses agree upon. It is often paid directly from the supporting spouse to the supported spouse either with a check or cash, although a check is a better idea as one can keep a paper trail to prove that they are following the divorce decree.

It is often considered more efficient to create an automatic deduction or withdrawal from the supporting spouse to the supported spouse, but as long the spouse who has been asked to make the payment continues to make them and is faithful to the divorce decree, the spouses will be able to work it out however they would like.

Duration of Alimony Payments

Alimony payments last as long as the judge determines is fair and reasonable, or for as long as the parties agreed. It is very common that a judge will order alimony payments during the divorce proceeding to enable the spouse who is financially dependent on the other to be financially stable while the divorce is taking place. Support may also continue after the marriage has ended for either a certain period of time or until a specific event occurs, such as if the spouse receiving the alimony payments gets married again.

In certain cases, a judge may award indefinite alimony, which means that support will continue to be paid to the supported spouse without any specific end date. This is usually only the case when the marriage has lasted for an extremely long time, and the financially dependent spouse is unable to obtain education or obtains a career that would enable them to be financially independent after the marriage ends.

Value of an Attorney

Paying spousal support in DC can be complicated which is why it is very important to have an attorney with experience in alimony cases when seeking alimony is an issue in your divorce as this portion in the divorce proceeding is often extremely volatile. When it comes to the issue of a divorcing spouse’s financial future, parties will often fight very hard to ensure a result that does not put their financial future at risk after the marriage ends.

It is extremely important to have someone who can identify the specific facts in your case that lend themselves to the factors that the court is required to consider in ruling on a request for a spousal support award.  An attorney can identify factors that are in your favor and tailor those factors and specific facts in your case to advocate for your position. Alimony determinations can be so specific to the facts of each case that having an attorney to assist you in an alimony case can prove extremely beneficial.