Oklahoma City Spousal Support Lawyer

Spousal support after a divorce can be a significant expense for a man who has been a traditional breadwinner for his family. If your spouse prioritized caretaking and domestic duties over working outside the home, they might need substantial continuing support.

It is critical to speak with a seasoned family attorney as soon as possible so you can know what to expect. An Oklahoma City spousal support lawyer from The Smith Firm will learn about your specific situation and work tirelessly to keep your spousal support obligations reasonable.

A Spouse Must Seek Support

Spousal support or maintenance, still called alimony in Oklahoma, is not mandatory, but many spouses request it as part of a divorce settlement. Either a husband or wife may request and receive alimony. Oklahoma courts award three types of alimony.

Temporary Alimony

While a divorce is pending, a court might award temporary alimony. Temporary alimony provides financial support while the dependent spouse establishes an independent household.

Rehabilitative Alimony

If one spouse left or never entered the workforce to focus on making a home, rehabilitative alimony provides the spouse with financial support while they further their education or acquire marketable skills. Spouses usually receive rehabilitative alimony for a pre-determined number of years, but a spouse who requires support for a longer period could petition the court to extend their alimony.

Permanent or Long-Term Alimony

Courts do not favor permanent alimony as a rule, but a judge will award it in an appropriate case. If the marriage endured for many years and the spouse’s age or health prevents them from joining the workforce and becoming self-supporting, a judge might award permanent or long-term spousal support.

Deciding Whether Alimony Is Appropriate

A spouse is not entitled to alimony but may ask for it. Courts often award alimony if a spouse can demonstrate a need and the other spouse has sufficient funds to pay. A court will not award alimony if doing so would impoverish the paying spouse.

Unlike child support, there is no formula to help a court determine alimony payments. Courts assess multiple factors when deciding whether to award spousal support, including:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Each party’s health and age
  • Each party’s education and experience in the workforce
  • Whether either spouse gave up opportunities to support the other spouse
  • Each party’s contribution to the marriage, financial and otherwise
  • Whether either party was at fault in the divorce

Note that fault could impact alimony. Even if a couple chooses a no-fault ground for divorce, a skilled Oklahoma City attorney could raise fault to influence a judge’s decision about alimony.

Courts often order a spouse to make support payments for a specific time. Even if the period has not expired, Oklahoma Statutes §43-134 states that the requirement to pay alimony ceases when the recipient dies or remarries. If the recipient begins cohabitating with an intimate partner, their former spouse could petition the court to terminate alimony. The burden would be on the receiving spouse to prove they still need financial support.

Ways to Pay Alimony

Most people who pay alimony make monthly or quarterly payments. The payor could arrange to have the money deducted from their paycheck, direct deposit the funds into their spouse’s account, or pay it by check.

In some cases, a spouse might make an alimony payment in a lump sum or transfer property instead of making recurring payments. These situations often arise when the paying spouse is self-employed or owns a business. If their future income is uncertain, transferring a lump sum or property could meet the other spouse’s need without committing the paying spouse to regular expenditures. These arrangements are final and cannot be modified.

When alimony is paid periodically, either spouse could petition the court to modify the arrangement. A modification is appropriate when either party experiences a substantial change in circumstances that renders the current payment inadequate or causes the paying spouse hardship. An experienced spousal support lawyer in Oklahoma City could represent a spouse in an alimony modification proceeding.

Call Now to Speak with an Oklahoma City Spousal Support Attorney

Alimony is a controversial issue in many divorces. Working through an Oklahoma spousal support lawyer to resolve the alimony issue could help a couple avoid renewed conflict.

You can trust a local legal professional from The Smith Firm to understand your needs in the divorce and work hard to meet them. Call a dedicated alimony attorney at our firm today to discuss your situation.