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Is Alimony I am Already Paying for a Previous Marriage Considered in Determining Alimony in my Current Tulsa Divorce?

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In Oklahoma, alimony (also known as spousal support) is calculated and assigned based on many different factors. Judges have wide discretion when assigning alimony. Judges use their discretion to weigh various factors in deciding what is fair and equitable.


However, before discussing how alimony is calculated and if alimony from a prior marriage is considered in the calculation, it is important to understand the purpose behind alimony.

What is Alimony

The word “alimony” itself came from the Latin word alimonia, which means ‘nourishment and sustenance.’ The purpose is for the supporting spouse to pay to the supported spouse an amount to maintain the standard of living that took place during the marriage.

Alimony also has a rehabilitative approach. The support lasts for a reasonable amount of time until the supported spouse becomes self-supporting. The supported spouse is greatly encouraged by the family court system to eventually be self-supporting; alimony is not meant to be indefinite.

Types of Alimony

There are two types of alimony: temporary and permanent.  Temporary alimony is ordered by a judge during a temporary order hearing.  This takes place during the divorce process before the final divorce decree.

The temporary alimony amount is usually higher than the permanent amount with the idea that the supported spouse will slowly receive less funds from the supporting spouse and more funds from employment.

Permanent alimony is ordered once the divorce is final.  The spouses can agree on a monthly amount, or the judge will order an amount.  The amount can be one lump sum, or more traditionally, be paid to the supported spouse monthly. Alimony in Tulsa can also be ordered in the form of assets based on the value of the asset and given to the supported spouse.

Calculating Alimony

Oklahoma family courts do not use guideline calculations. Instead they depend on a list of factors that are considered when awarding alimony. In addition to the amount of alimony, judges also order the type, manner, and duration of alimony payments.

The whole of the circumstances is considered when calculating alimony. Factors that are considered include spouse’s education, current employment, ability to be employed, special needs, ability to pay alimony, role in the marriage, length of the marriage, ability to be self-supporting and each spouse’s needs.

Carefully analyzing these factors allows a family court judge to come to an informed and reasonable decision for both parties.

The existence of current alimony payments for a previous marriage is considered, yet at the same time not considered. Just because a spouse is already paying alimony does not preclude them from paying alimony to a new spouse. However, the judge will take into consideration the supporting spouses ability to pay based on current financial responsibilities.

In essence, a spouse does not get a free pass if they are already supporting an ex-spouse.

Expiration of Alimony

Each type of alimony will naturally terminate at different dates. For temporary alimony, this terminates as soon as the final divorce decree is issued by the judge. This will then trigger permanent support to begin.

Permanent alimony will terminate depending on the factors the judge considered when ordering alimony. Part of the court’s determination is based on how long the judge believes the supported spouse needs to become self-supporting.

In practice it is not uncommon to find alimony ordered one year for every three years married. These are very general numbers, and not what the court uses to calculate. However this is a common ruling.

Regardless of the factors, there are two instances when permanent alimony must terminate despite the judge’s ruling. If the supported spouse dies, alimony ceases. If the supported spouse marries, alimony payments stop.

However, the supported spouse can file a motion with the court within 90 days of remarriage stating that alimony is still needed, and it would be unfair to stop the support. If the court finds the supported party’s claim reasonable then the payments continue.

Free Consultation with a Tulsa Divorce Lawyer

The alimony system is a grey area of family law, an area only experienced family law attorneys know how to navigate. It is important to have exceptional representation when issues arise that may affect alimony payments.

Contact an experienced Tulsa divorce attorney when you need to go through the Oklahoma divorce process.

For a free confidential consultation, call 918-924-5526.


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