There are a lot of legal ways to avoid paying spousal support. Also called alimony, spousal support can result at the end of a relationship as you divorce your partner. It is a legal obligation that can be in place for many years, letting you be financially tied and trapped by your old relationship.
Yes, you can avoid them, but you have to be careful not to break the law. Let’s take a closer look at this topic.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal support, which can also be referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance, is a payment made between two spouses. Namely, it can be paid during or after a divorce, and its purpose is to financially support one of them. This is somebody that perhaps has not been self-sufficient in the marriage, and their partner would provide the money in the family.
Spousal support is something that a court will award. They will look at the circumstances of the marriage and each person’s financial position. In some states, there can be guidelines to help with the award of alimony. Spousal support is only awarded when necessary, and this can be a permanent or temporary measure.
How To Avoid Paying Spousal Support with a Prenuptial Agreement
Many people do not want to pay spousal support after a divorce. Having this type of expense to pay every month can be difficult and draining when you have just become single, and there is now only your income to rely on.
If you do not want to pay spousal support, one of the best ways to avoid this is to sign a prenuptial agreement. This is something you can do before you get married. It will mean that you and your partner agree that if you ever divorce, spousal support will not be part of the deal.
With a prenuptial agreement, there are many conditions you can lay out for your divorce. For instance, it can make sure that you get the assets you have paid for and keep anything else you want to.
Again, you can create a clause that details how you will not be paying alimony if you divorce your partner in the future. Once they sign this, they will not be able to file and gain spousal support.
It is best to have a prenuptial agreement written by a professional. In other words, you are going to want to hire an divorce attorney so that they are able to create a legally binding prenuptial agreement. This ensures that there are not going to be problems later down the line.
Can You Disregard Alimony in a Postnuptial Agreement?
Yes, it might be possible to rule out having to pay spousal support if you detail this in a postnuptial agreement. If you have never heard of a postnuptial agreement before, this is a contract you can create after you are married. You can detail the ownership of certain assets, as well as other agreements between you and your partner for divorce.
But, something to realize is that if you and your partner are heading for a divorce, they might not sign a postnuptial agreement. It might be too late to go down this route in some cases. Yet, there could be ways you could negotiate out of giving alimony. For instance, they may want a particular asset and accept this instead.
Again, it is important to have an attorney create your postnuptial agreement. They are professionals with experience, and they know how to write a contract that is going to be legally binding. They will make sure that it will stand in court and give you what you want in a divorce.
Will Infidelity Stop Spousal Support?
Yes, it is possible if one partner has been unfaithful in the marriage, they will not be able to receive alimony. But, it should be known that these laws vary from state to state. In other words, some states will cancel alimony payments to a partner if they have cheated, whereas other states will disregard this argument altogether. Thus, make sure you do some research and check if this applies where you live.
Note that you will bear the burden of proof to prove that your partner has been cheating. You will need solid evidence to show the judge that this happens, and they will not simply rely on your word for this. Therefore, anything from texts and images to videos or recordings will be necessary.
It is important to realize that if you have cheated on your husband or wife during the marriage and you will be paying alimony, your payments will not increase. In other words, you will not be punished financially for this. You will have to pay the same amount of spousal support if you have cheated.
Will the Length of the Marriage Play a Part in Alimony Awards?
Yes, in some states, the judge is going to look at how long the couple was married for. The general rule of thumb is that the longer you are married to your spouse, the more you may have to pay for spousal support. Thus, it may be best to divorce sooner rather than later if you are worried about paying a lot of alimony.
But, something to be aware of is that the length of marriage is not going to stop the award of alimony completely. For instance, a judge is not going to say just because you have only been married a few months, spousal support is not required. There are so many other factors that a judge will look at first.
Can Changing Your Lifestyle Help Achieve a Divorce Without Alimony?
Yes, it is possible that if you change your lifestyle in advance of a divorce, you may be able to avoid paying spousal support to the partner. Normally, a person who earns the most and enjoys a better lifestyle will be the one who is paying the alimony each month. Thus, the person making less and having a modest lifestyle is going to receive money.
If you know that a divorce is on the cards, you may wish to change your lifestyle. This can include downsizing and changing the way you live. This might help avoid having to pay spousal support or paying less than you would have.
But, if you are currently going through a divorce, you must not hide any of your assets or try to deceive the court. This is not going to be a good way to present your case, and a judge will see through these actions. In particular, do not try to get fired from your job just to avoid paying alimony.
Will Losing My Job Help Me Get Out of Alimony?
The answer to this question is possibly. There will be certain circumstances where alimony can be modified after it is set for a judge. In particular, you can ask for a modification if there has been a substantial change in your life. In some states, losing your job may mean you do not have to pay alimony.
But, something to realize is that there might still be a need to provide your ex-partner with spousal support. So, say you have to take a lower-paying job. This could mean that a judge simply lowers the amount you have to pay in alimony. It might not avoid your legal obligation altogether.
Again, just make sure that you do not deliberately try to lose your job. This is something that a judge is going to notice if you are deliberately trying to stop paying alimony. All this is going to do is get you into trouble.
Can I Ask the Judge To Stop Alimony?
Yes, you can go to the judge and claim that you no longer have to pay spousal support to your ex-partner. But, you have to have a good reason for this. Namely, there are going to be two situations where your legal obligation to pay alimony can end. This is going to apply if the other person dies or they remarry.
In the case of the latter, you will need to present evidence to the judge that the spouse is getting married. This is going to terminate your obligation and avoid spousal support payments going forward.
Can I Move Out of State To Avoid Alimony?
Moving out of state will be a pointless exercise if your only aim is to avoid paying spousal support. You can move anywhere in the country. But, this will not relieve you of your legal obligation to pay alimony to your ex-partner. The spousal support order is a legal document created by a judge, and you need to make sure you pay this as was agreed.
If you choose to move to a state and hope that you can stop paying, this will not end well. In particular, the court in the state you have left can choose to enforce the spousal support order. This can include fining you, or you can even be hit with a jail sentence for contempt, of course.
Other enforcement orders can be used against you. This includes suspending licenses, as well as seizing some of your salary each month when your employer pays you.
Spousal support is a legal obligation, but there are ways you can avoid paying it in the first place or terminate the order.
Let’s summarize what we need to know about this topic:
- Spousal support is a payment made between two spouses when one of them needs financial support after the split
- Alimony is given by the court, and it becomes a legal obligation you must fulfill for a temporary or permanent amount of time
- A prenuptial agreement can avoid the need to pay spousal support on divorce, and you need to sign this before you get married
- A prenuptial agreement can contain conditions and terms that mean a spouse cannot later on file for alimony
- A postnuptial agreement might be a way to avoid spousal support, but you have to negotiate with your partner to get away with it
- In some states, infidelity will stop spousal support payments
- You will have the burden of proof and must show that your partner has been cheating with strong evidence
- Infidelity does not punish those that are paying, and the payment will not increase if you cheat on your partner
- Some states will take into account the length of the marriage and whether it is going to be appropriate to pay a lot of spousal support
- The general rule is, the longer you have been married, the higher you are going to have to pay out for your ex-partner
- Changing your lifestyle might help you pay less when it comes to alimony since you have fewer assets
- You must not cheat the system and attempt to hide any assets or deliberately lose your job to avoid paying alimony
- You can ask a judge to modify spousal support payments if you legitimately lose your job
- If you take a lower-paying job and can no longer meet your obligations, evidence of this must be shown to the court
- Moving out of state is not going to stop your legal obligation to pay spousal support to your ex-partner
- The law will catch up with you if you move away and stop making payments
- A court has a range of enforcement methods they can use to get payment from you
- You can have your professional or driver’s license taken from you, as well as some of your salary seized every month
If you follow the law and act reasonably, there are certain circumstances where you will not have to pay spousal support. Just make sure you do not act dishonestly.
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