When and How is Alimony Ordered?
There a number of considerations that go into whether or not alimony will be ordered. The threshold determination is the length of marriage. Absent exceptional circumstances, alimony will not be ordered on marriages of less than 10 years. Next, the income and income earning potential of the parties are considered. There are a few other considerations such as the age, health, and medical needs of the parties. However, the most common and most important are the length of the marriage, and income of the parties. Once this is established, the Alimony Guidelines, at least in Albuquerque, will set the parameters of alimony.
Determining How Spousal Support Will be Paid
Though the amount of alimony may be set, there are any numbers of way that the alimony may be paid. The way by which alimony is paid is largely left to the parties, and their attorneys. Some parties may choose to simply follow the Alimony Guidelines for the payment of monthly spousal support. However, the parties can elect a lump sum payment of alimony in lieu of ongoing support. Lump sum alimony basically calls for the calculation and immediate payment of the present value of future child support.
The lump sum alimony can itself be structured in a variety of ways. Basically, the parties are free to offset alimony against other assets. New Mexico is a community property state which means the parties are entitled to a equal distribution of the assets upon the dissolution of the marriage. However, the parties are free to negotiate the division of the community property. Lump sum alimony may be paid through an additional allocation of assets to the beneficiary of the support.
Community Debt and Alimony
As a community property state, the parties are also equally responsible for community debt. This provides one more option for the offset of alimony. The party owing alimony may take on a greater share of the community debt to satisfy a lump sum alimony payment.
There are many other options as well. These options depend upon the financial circumstances of the parties. In short, there is some flexibility in alimony and the challenge is to achieve a solution that meets the requirements of the statutes while also meeting the needs and abilities of the parties.
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