ArkansasAlimony Guide - Spousal Support Laws
Arkansas Alimony Guide :: Table of Contents
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered provision of financial support a spouse for after a divorce. Alimony laws vary considerably from state to state, and courts often have significant flexibility on a case-by-case basis in determing whether to award alimony, how much alimony to award, and how long alimony payments will continue.
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In the state of Arkansas, a divorced spouse, or spouse in the process of filing a divorce, may file for an alimony order for the individual to maintain the standard of living maintained during the marriage. The resulting judgment is dependent on many factors. Alimony is awarded at the final judgment of the judge and court deciding the case.
One of the main factors taken into consideration by a judge and court when a request is filed is which spouse has custody of any children that the two parties involved cared for.
Unless otherwise dictated by the court or parties involved alimony payments shall cease if any of the following occur after the agreement has been declared:
- the remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony payments
- the establishment of a relationship that produces a child or children that result in a court order directing another individual to pay support to the recipient of the alimony payments
- the alimony recipient developing a relationship that requires them to provide support to another individual that is not an adopted or birth child of theirs
- If either party of the alimony agreement dies, the payments shall cease
- If the payment recipient lives full time with another person in an intimate relationship, it shall be considered in the same way remarriage would, and end the alimony agreement.
Rehabilitation alimony may also be filed dependent on a plan for rehabilitation of the receiving spouse’s estate and ability to maintain their own standard of living. A judge must deem the plan to be appropriate and will then decide on the final decision of payment, the length of time that it must be paid, and the situation/s under which it will cease.
In the end, alimony is awarded at the final judgment of the judge and court deciding the case.
In the state of Arkansas, a number of factors are taken into account when calculating the amount and duration of alimony or spousal support payments.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating alimony?
Arkansas does not consider a statutory list of factors when determining alimony payments.
Is marital fault considered in Arkansas alimony?
Arkansas does not consider marital fault when determining alimony payments. This means that divorces considered "at-fault" due to cheating or infidelity, abuse, or other factors do not affect the calculation of alimony payments.
Is standard of living considered in Arkansas alimony?
Standard of living is considered when calculating alimony payments in the state of Arkansas. This means that a judge will consider the lifestyle enjoyed by the alimony-receiving spouse during the duration of the marriage when determining an appropriate alimony payment amount.
Is custodial status considered when determining alimony in the state of Arkansas?
The judge in the state of Arkansas considers custodial status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children, and custodial spouses may receive higher alimony payments.
How exactly is alimony calculated in the state of Arkansas?
Calculation of alimony is generally done on a case-by-case basis by the Arkansas family court judge who is responsible for the case. While some states have a fixed alimony calculation formula, in most cases the final amount and duration of alimony awarded (if alimony is awarded) is at the discretion of the judge.
- How long must alimony be paid?
- The duration of payments is determined by a judge in Arkansas family court. Alimony length is usually based on length of marriage - one commonly used standard for alimony duration is that 1 year of alimony is paid every three years of marriage (however, this is not always the case in every state or with every judge). Alimony may also be discontinued upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse. In some cases, judges may even award permanent alimony.
- What happens if alimony isn't paid?
- If alimony is unpaid, the owed debt is known as alimony arrears. Arrears can be collected via mediation, small claims court, or wage garnishment. Failure to comply with a court-issued spousal support order may also result in a contempt of court charge against the spouse who failed to pay owed alimony.
- Can alimony be waived by a prenuptual agreement?
- A prenup agreement is a contract between spouses regarding marriage-related financial matters signed prior to marriage. Limitation or waiving rights to alimony is a frequent clause in modern prenuptual agreements, but some states or localities prohibit such alimony waivers.
- Can alimony be collected if you're not married?
- The legal concept of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is dependant upon a legal marriage. However, in some areas - especially those with a concept of common-law marriage - "palimony", or support payments between non-married individuals, has been awarded by courts. However, this generally requires extenuating circumstances.
- What is alimony mediation?
When a marriage ends through divorce and alimony is expected to be paid, spouses have the choice to determine an alimony agreement either through litigation (in Arkansas family court) or through mutual agreement. Often, a Arkansas alimony mediator can be brought in to help the ex-spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding alimony and other contested issues such as property division, and thus avoid having to go to court.
- How are alimony payments taxed?
On a federal level, all qualifying Arkansas alimony payments are deductible by the payor, and counted as taxable income by the recipient. To qualify as alimony under IRS guidelines, the following must be true:
- The payments are in cash
- The parties live in seperate households
- The payments are strictly for alimony (as opposed to for child support, etc)
Taxation of alimony varies on a state and local level. You can learn more about Arkansas income taxes here .