Washington D.C. Alimony and Spousal Support Laws
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Washington D.C. courts will grant alimony or spousal support in divorce cases when the circumstances of the parties make doing so just. The court will determine alimony on a case-by-case basis, depending on the duration of the marriage and the situation of the parties.
Types of Spousal Support
- Temporary – may be awarded for the period of time between filing for divorce and the courts final disposition in a case.
- Short-Term – may be awarded if the court finds that one party needs assistance or compensation on a limited time basis.
- Long-Term or Permanent – may be awarded if the equitable distribution of the marital assets requires it, usually in lengthy marriages.
Who is Eligible for Alimony in Washington D.C.
Either party to a divorce is eligible for alimony if the financial status of the parties makes it necessary. A court may award alimony to a husband or a wife.
Guidelines (Factors for Awarding Alimony)
The court will consider the following criteria to decide on alimony in your case:
- Ability of the party seeking alimony to be self-supporting;
- Time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to secure suitable employment;
- Standard of living that the parties established during their marriage but giving consideration to the fact that there will be two households to maintain;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Circumstances which contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
- Age of each party;
- Physical and mental condition of each party;
- Ability of the party from who alimony is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting the needs of the other party; and
- Financial needs and financial resources of each party.
Reasons for Termination or Modification of Alimony
Cohabitation after the divorce may result in alimony modification or termination. Death of either party will terminate alimony unless the settlement agreement provides otherwise.
Marital Fault in Washington D.C.
While the court is allowed to look at the circumstances which contributed to the estrangement of the parties in determining alimony awards in Washington D.C., it is a no fault divorce state, meaning that the court will not use marital fault as a determining factor for alimony awards. The no fault causes for divorce include:
- Mutual voluntary separation without cohabitation for six months;
- Living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last?
The duration of any support arrangement is dependent on the circumstances of the parties. Usually, long-term marriages tend to receive lengthier spousal support awards if the interests of justice demand alimony. The parties may also agree to some other settlement, such as a lump sum award if it will be better for them.
Washington D.C. Alimony Taxes
A party who pays alimony is allowed to claim the payments as a deduction on federal tax forms. The party receiving alimony is required to claim it as income on federal tax forms. An attorney familiar with divorce law can discuss the tax consequences of your agreement with you.
Talk to a Divorce Attorney
A Washington D.C. family law attorney can help you navigate the court system, the tax implications, and the paperwork. Divorce can be a difficult time in a person’s life. Having an attorney by your side will make it easier to move through the process and on with life.