How Alimony Amounts Are Determined


One key issue in divorce proceedings is determining the value of alimony – the allowance the law creates for one spouse to receive from the other for financial support.

How Mississippi Law Defines Alimony

In Mississippi, there are two types of alimony: lump sum and periodic payment. The first is a fixed and final dollar amount paid in one payment or over a set of payments over a period of time. In this instance, the court cannot change the amount once it’s been decided nor does death or remarriage of either spouse affect it. Periodic payments can change and end at the death of either spouse or the remarriage or cohabitation of the recipient spouse.

In either instance, the court has to decide on a specific amount. It will take a variety of factors into account including health, earning capacities of both spouses, all sources of income, reasonable needs and care of children and living expenses. Taxes also come into play during this process.

Mississippi courts try to set alimony amounts that set a similar standard of living for the spouse receiving the support. Amounts must be deemed reasonable and must reflect the income and earning realties for both parties.

In the case of a periodic payment, either spouse can ask the court to change the amount based on new hardships (but not those purposely brought on to reduce the amount). Emergency situations can also be taken into consideration.

What Happens When a Spouse Cannot Pay Alimony

If a spouse isn’t paying support for any number of reasons, a judge could issue a contempt of court ruling against the paying spouse that would lead to a lien or wage garnishment to make up the lost amount. In any case, the recipient spouse should keep good records along the way of each payment to know how much he/she has earned and how much to expect in future payments.

If you’re facing the potential of alimony in a divorce, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable divorce attorney to understand your rights and options. Contact the Law Offices of Rusty Williard today at (601) 824-9797 to schedule a free consultation for your specific situation.