In some situations, it may be necessary for one former spouse to pay the other alimony, also known as spousal support, either on a temporary or permanent basis. At Long, Claypole & Blakley Law, PLC, our established team delivers the personal attention you need and deserve as you work your way through divorce, developing a carefully-planned strategy relating to alimony and other financial issues.
Oklahoma courts may award permanent alimony in a divorce, either in one lump sum from the obligated spouse’s separate property or in installments. To calculate the proper amount, courts take into account such factors as the needs of each spouse, the ability of the supporting spouse to pay, the recipient’s ability to become self-supporting and the length of the marriage. There is generally a limit placed on the duration of the alimony obligation, depending on the length of the marriage and how long it will take the supported spouse to become self-supporting. In any case, alimony will automatically end upon either:
A court may also increase or decrease alimony payments if the spouse seeking modification can show a change of circumstances that makes the current amount unreasonable, such as decrease material change in a spouse’s income or living expenses. The court may decrease the amount if the supporting spouse cohabits with a member of the opposite sex. If you are seeking or opposing a modification or termination of alimony, we have the knowledge and skill to assist you.
Even before divorce, it is possible for a spouse who is at a financial disadvantage to win a temporary award of alimony, also known as spousal maintenance. Courts use the same factors to calculate temporary alimony as they do with permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is normally paid in installments, since the total amount needed will depend on the length of the divorce proceedings. If you need temporary alimony, we can ask the court for it as part of our representation of you in the divorce proceedings. We can also represent you in opposing an award of temporary alimony to your spouse.
If you owe alimony and knowingly and willfully refuse to pay it, a court can find you guilty of contempt and impose up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 per violation. Sometimes, however, it may be possible to avoid alimony altogether. For instance, if both spouses are self-supporting or are otherwise roughly equal in financial circumstances, the court may see no reason why one should pay alimony to the other. You can even eliminate the possibility of alimony with a prenuptial agreement containing a prohibitory clause. These measures can potentially prevent unnecessary financial distress and the threat of criminal sanctions against you. If you want to avoid paying alimony to your spouse, we can counsel you on your options and, if necessary, seek to convince a court to deny or minimize it in your divorce proceeding.