Alimony as a practice originated not long after the introduction of the divorce into US marriage law. Once couples were allowed to divorce, there was a necessity for the idea of “fault.” If one of the spouses was found guilty of misconduct, and therefore at fault for the destruction of the marriage, then the question of alimony came into play. Initially, alimony was solely for women. As a result, if a husband were found to be guilty of marital misconduct, then he would be required to pay alimony. On the other hand, if the wife were to resort to such infidelities, she would forfeit her right to financial support. Some states, in fact, still have laws on the books saying that an unfaithful wife may not receive alimony.
Then, in the mid-century, no-fault divorces began to be granted, but the tradition of alimony remained with slightly broadened rules. Today, our views on divorce, alimony, and (hopefully) the gender roles of marriage have evolved since those bygone days. In about half of the states in the US, marital fault is still the primary consideration in how alimony is paid. However, Arkansas is not one of those states. Marital fault is not considered when determining alimony payments. In other words, at-fault divorces involving infidelity, abuse, or other misconduct will not affect the alimony decision.
What is Alimony? Tips from an Arkansas LGBT Alimony Lawyer
Alimony is also called spousal support today, and while most of us have heard the word and have an idea what it means, we will explain it in a little more detail here. Alimony is a kind of supplemental monetary support which is paid to one party in a marriage in order to ensure that financial distress does not keep someone in an otherwise unpleasant, or even abusive, marriage. Usually, it is issued to a party with physical custody of children from the marriage, but this is not always the case.
In terms of the LGBT community and same sex marriage, since LGBT people are subject to the same marriage laws as the rest of the country, the laws regarding alimony are similarly applied. There are no special alimony laws for same sex marriages, though it is still recommended to work with an LGBT alimony lawyer since same sex marriage has its own unique considerations in contrast to other marriages.
However, just because the laws apply equally does not imply that every divorce is the same – this is certainly not the case. For this reason, the question of alimony is a complex one in the state of Arkansas. As LGBT alimony attorneys can attest, alimony standards are more complicated than even child support, which is generally considered to be the most stressful consideration of the entire divorce. Unlike child support, which is calculated in Arkansas based on a fairly straightforward set of standards, alimony is figured monetarily in its own unique way by judges. Your LGBT alimony lawyer can explain this process in more detail.
LGBT Alimony Lawyers in Arkansas on How Alimony is Based
The basis for alimony in Arkansas, as any LGBT alimony attorney can attest, is fairly tricky. In some states, the process is as simple as “couple divorces, one of them made more money, that partner pays spousal support to balance the difference.” In fact, in Arkansas, a situation where one partner simply earns more money than the other one will not automatically guarantee the payment of alimony. So, what is alimony in Arkansas based on? Ask an LGBT alimony lawyer to find out for sure, but here are a few of the factors:
- Age and physical and mental health of spouses
- Savings and retirement for each spouse
- Income and income potential for each spouse
- The current standard of living enjoyed by the couple
- The length of the marriage
- Whether the partner responsible for paying alimony can afford to do so
With the help of LGBT alimony lawyers in Arkansas, you can work to present the best case to the court. It may seem strange to think that the spouse who asked for the divorce could end up being the one who is required to pay alimony, but in the state of Arkansas, the law allows for this. However, these decisions by Arkansas judges are not arbitrary. They hear and carefully consider the evidence, the various factors as listed above, and arguments from the LGBT alimony attorneys, and come up with a solution that they feel is truly the fairest.
If there is one thing we can say for sure as LGBT alimony lawyers in Arkansas, it is that there is no single, simple formula for alimony in Arkansas. The answer depends on you, your partner, your circumstances, your LGBT alimony lawyer, and the judge.
LGBT Alimony Lawyer Insight: What Role Does Adultery Play in Alimony?
In a marriage, the general definition of adultery is when one spouse engages in a voluntary sexual relationship, however brief or extended, with someone other than their spouse. The reality of adultery plays an important role in divorce law in the state of Arkansas. In fact, the Arkansas Code specifically states that adultery is a basis for divorce, applying to any kind of marriage, including same sex marriage.
In the case that you are guilty of adultery, and your spouse has asked for a divorce, you can, with the help of an LGBT divorce lawyer in Arkansas, pursue one of several defenses:
- The incident of adultery happened, but both spouses colluded secretly to plan it
- The adultery only occurred due to desire to escape the marriage
- The other spouse was aware of the infidelity and gave permission
- Both spouses are guilty of adultery
Bear in mind that even if your LGBT alimony attorney’s adultery defense is successful, it is highly likely that your spouse can seek a divorce for other reasons.
LGBT Alimony Attorney Insights: Does Adultery Affect Alimony Payments?
Alimony payment amounts in Arkansas must be reasonable – that is, fair when compared against the facts of the divorce case. As mentioned, there is not a single ‘formula’ for the calculation of alimony. Will the adultery play a factor in the decision? Almost certainly – but it is impossible for anyone, including your LGBT alimony lawyer, to say for sure how that fact will affect the amount of payment.
That said, no court in Arkansas has ever stated that adultery is not a factor in coming to a decision regarding alimony issues, but the court prefers to consider the whole picture rather than simply focus on a single item like infidelity. For instance, what if one partner in a married couple is unfaithful, and this infidelity causes the other spouse to suffer mental health deterioration, hospitalization, and job loss due to ongoing health problems? Given these facts, the adultery is certainly a component of the alimony decision, but the financial ramifications of medical bills and job loss will also play a heavy role in determining alimony payments.
Together with your LGBT alimony attorney, you can discuss the issue of adultery if it is relevant to your case, and how it may apply to the alimony award in your LGBT divorce. Some common limitations, however, are that the act of adultery needs to directly relate to the other spouse’s need for support (as in the previous example), and the adulterer’s ability to pay said support.
Your LGBT Alimony Lawyer Can Help You Get the Support You Need
If you are an LGBT person in a same sex marriage in Arkansas, then you should contact one of our LGBT alimony attorneys right away to determine the next steps you should take. Since there is no simple formula for alimony as there is for other factors like child support, it is important for you to work closely with your LGBT alimony lawyer to construct the strongest possible case as to why you believe you are deserving of support – or, on the other hand – why you should not be required to, or are not able to, provide the support requested.
Every divorce is unique, and every alimony finding will be based on a number of fairly subjective criteria, but with the help of an experienced LGBT alimony attorney, you should be able to proceed with your divorce in the most efficient and stress-free way possible.