MississippiAlimony Guide - Spousal Support Laws
Mississippi 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 Mississippi, during or following a dissolution of marriage, divorce, or legal separation, the court may grant a dependent spouse alimony payments. Alimony payments are support paid by the more monetarily independent spouse to the more dependent spouse to help them maintain the standard of living established during marriage. There are many factors of consideration the court will look into when making declaring the amount, length, and requirement of alimony payments. Alimony may be required in lump sum or periodic payments.
Any property distributed after the dissolution of the marriage will be taken into consideration when first debating whether or not alimony should be required. Several other factors included in the court decision include, but are not limited to:
- The financial condition of each spouse
- The estates of each party
- the duration of the marriage
- The age and physical and mental health of both individuals
- The contribution of either spouse as a homemaker
- The career before marriage of the individual to receive alimony
- The education levels and training of both parties
- The income and earning capacity of both spouses
The education level, earning ability, income, and skills of both spouses is largely considered when considering their ability to maintain the standard of living established during marriage.
The length of time it would take the spouse who would receive alimony to obtain education, training, and/or employment is relevant to the amount of time alimony could potentially be awarded for. If the spouse to receive alimony is incapable of returning to work, whether or be due to poor health or caretaking for a child of an age or mental capacity that requires the individual to forgo employment, will also be taken into consideration for the requirement, amount, and length of alimony payments.
Any other factors the court deems relevant to individual cases will also affect the court’s decision. In the end, the final decision/s of alimony payments, amount, and length of time are up to the court and judge deciding the case.
In the state of Mississippi, 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?
Mississippi does not consider a statutory list of factors when determining alimony payments.
Is marital fault considered in Mississippi alimony?
Mississippi 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 Mississippi alimony?
Standard of living is considered when calculating alimony payments in the state of Mississippi. 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 Mississippi?
The judge in the state of Mississippi does not consider custodial status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are not affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children.
How exactly is alimony calculated in the state of Mississippi?
Calculation of alimony is generally done on a case-by-case basis by the Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi family court) or through mutual agreement. Often, a Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi income taxes here .