There are several different options for alimony arrangements in Connecticut, each with their own pros and cons. The attorneys at our firm can help you understand the different spousal support options in New Haven and which one might be best for you.
Spouses who do not want to have to rely on periodic payments or who do not want to have interactions with one another once the divorce is final may propose a lump sum spousal support payment, or alimony buyout. Lump sum spousal support generally reflects what a future stream of alimony payments would have produced.
Spouses who elect for a lump sum payment effectively waive their right to use periodical alimony as an option, meaning they cannot come back to court later to request that periodic spousal support be entered. This means that when a party agrees to receive an alimony buyout in the form of a property settlement, that is a final order that cannot be modified post judgment.
Periodic alimony is more common when the parties have a significant difference in income. Under this arrangement one party pays to the other a certain amount in spousal support on a set frequency for a certain period of time. That amount is typically modifiable based on a change in circumstances, an example of which is a decrease or increase in either party’s income.
However, the duration of periodical spousal support is typically non-modifiable. For example, if one party is ordered to pay their ex-spouse $300 per week for a period of 15 years after divorce but subsequently loses their job or has to retire and is no longer making the income that they were making at the time the order was entered, they can seek to reduce alimony – even down to $1 per year – but the alimony obligation will not be terminated until the end of the 15 year term.
Rehabilitative spousal support is a form of periodic alimony. Part of the judge’s considerations when awarding rehabilitative alimony will include the respective education levels, needs, employability, and earning capacities of the parties. In situations where one party’s employability and earning capacity can be improved over time by going back to school or through career advancement, a court might award a certain period of rehabilitative alimony to allow them to obtain the education or experience they need to get back on their feet and have their own income.
Spousal support might not be appropriate in cases where the difference in incomes between spouses is not significant, or where both parties have the ability to work and support themselves and are not in need of additional support to carry on with a similar or close-to-similar lifestyle post-divorce. A court might find that the needs of either spouse do not warrant an award of alimony under all the circumstances. Either way, that determination is at the discretion of the judge.
The death of either party will automatically terminate periodic alimony. Attorneys representing the payee will want to protect their client from the possibility that the alimony paying spouse suddenly passes away. One way is to have an insurance obligation saying that the payor needs to ensure their alimony obligation via life insurance so that in the event of an untimely passing, the party that was supposed to receive the alimony for a certain period of years has the benefit of access to insurance proceeds.
Reach out today to learn more about spousal support options in New Haven.