If you are going through a divorce, your future is bound to seem uncertain. And, if there’s a question of paying or receiving alimony, your financial stability can be in jeopardy. Fortunately, the family law attorneys at Butler & Flynn, PLLC in Oklahoma City provide the determined representation you need to pursue a fair outcome. Drawing on more than 30 years of combined legal experience, we pore over your financial records to uncover the hard facts necessary to build a compelling case. The court considers many relevant factors when determining whether to order alimony and in what amount. We work tirelessly to ensure the court has all the details necessary to arrive at a fair conclusion.
In Oklahoma, alimony is gender-neutral, so either spouse can request support from the other as long as the supporting spouse has the ability to pay and the recipient spouse can demonstrate financial need. Oklahoma law recognizes two basic types of support payments for a spouse:
A major factor in deciding on an award of alimony in a divorce case is the length of the marriage. Lifelong alimony is reserved for marriages of long duration or where a spouse cannot be expected to become self-supporting. A spouse who is disabled and was not financially independent would likely receive permanent alimony.
In marriages of short duration, a dependent spouse can receive rehabilitative alimony to become self-supporting as well as reimbursement alimony to repay that spouse for sacrifices made during the marriage. Another important factor is whether there are young children, and caregiving duties would prevent the recipient spouse from earning a living.
An order of permanent alimony can be modified if the party requesting the modification can show a substantial change has occurred impacting the supporting spouse’s ability to pay support or the recipient spouse’s need for it. The order could also be changed if either party had committed fraud by misrepresenting their finances during the trial.
It’s hard to know what to expect in a divorce, especially if issues go to trial. If you’re concerned about having to pay alimony, there are certain steps you can take to reduce your risk. First, alimony is an issue you can dispense with in a prenuptial agreement. A validly executed prenup will hold up in court as long as it conforms to basic principles of a contract.
If you don’t have a prenup, you can try to negotiate the issue as part of your property settlement. Giving a little more of the marital estate upfront in exchange for a “no alimony” agreement can be a win-win proposition.
Taking on joint custody of your children can reduce or eliminate the need for alimony, because it frees the other parent to work. A joint custody arrangement also reduces child support payments.
However, other strategies for avoiding alimony, such as deliberately earning less than you could or failing to report all sources of income can get you into serious legal trouble. This is why it’s important to consult a reputable divorce lawyer who will offer sound legal advice.
Butler & Flynn, PLLC represents Oklahoma clients in divorce cases and post-divorce disputes, including matters related to spousal support. Please call 405-416-2711 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation at our Oklahoma City office.