Divorce is a dramatic, life-changing event that can take a toll on both parties' financial well-being. Sadly, for some spouses, ending their marriage can lead to significant—and frightening— financial hardships.
Fortunately, divorce doesn't have to be a one-way ticket to financial ruin. Economically disadvantaged spouses may be entitled to monetary support in the form of spousal maintenance or alimony payments for the duration of the divorce and beyond. These payments are made by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse in an attempt to rectify a sizable financial disparity that may exist between the two—both during the divorce proceedings and after the divorce is finalized.
In an Oklahoma divorce, the court considers a number of factors when determining whether spousal support or alimony is warranted and, if so, to arrive at an amount that's fair to both parties. Are you facing financial support issues in your divorce? Here's what you need to know about spousal support and alimony, and how our skilled Tulsa divorce attorneys can help you achieve your legal goals.
Types of Spousal Support and Alimony in an Oklahoma Divorce
Oklahoma recognizes three kinds of divorce-related financial support:
- Temporary spousal support. Also known as spousal maintenance, these payments are made throughout the divorce proceedings and stop when the divorce is finalized.
- Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is paid for a specified period of time in order to allow a dependent spouse to gain the education or job skills needed to find suitable employment and become financially independent. Rehabilitative alimony payments end when the recipient dies or remarries.
- Long-term alimony. Also called long-term alimony, this type of support payment is generally reserved for divorce cases involving long marriages in which one spouse is likely unable to reach financial independence due to age, poor physical or mental health, lack of skills, or a lengthy absence from the job market. Long-term alimony payments continue to a court-specified end date, as Oklahoma law does not permit indefinite alimony outside of an agreement of the parties.
Factors the Court Considers When Determining Spousal Support or Alimony Awards
Though Oklahoma has a formula the court uses to determine child support payments, there are no such guidelines for figuring out spousal maintenance or alimony amounts. However, the judge will consider a variety of factors, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Age and health of each spouse
- Education and earning potential of each spouse
- Each spouse's income and debts
- Demonstrated financial need
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Each spouse's monetary—and non-monetary—contributions to the marriage
- Whether one spouse contributed to the other's earning capacity during the marriage
- Whether a supporting spouse can remain financially independent while paying alimony
Oklahoma Alimony Payments
Once the judge has ordered alimony and determined the type and amount, the supporting spouse can choose to pay a lump sum, or opt for ongoing monthly or quarterly payments. Depending on the details of the court award, alimony payments may be made via check, direct deposit, or wage garnishment.
Modifying or Terminating an Oklahoma Alimony Award
Alimony awards aren't set in stone. In fact, awards involving ongoing payments can potentially be modified—or even terminated—if you can show that there's been a substantial change in circumstances affects your ability to pay or your need for financial support. Need to modify or terminate an alimony award? We can help.
Our Attorneys Can Help Ensure a Fair Alimony Award in Your Oklahoma Divorce
Spousal maintenance and alimony can be major points of contention in an Oklahoma divorce. We understand there's a lot at stake, which is why it's absolutely essential to have a well-trained and highly-skilled divorce attorney handling your case and looking out for your interests.
At the Law Office of Aaron D. Bundy, PLC, we pride ourselves in providing effective legal solutions and client-centric, results-focused representation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a private consultation to find out how we can assist you.