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What is Alimony in Mississippi?

The issue of alimony in Mississippi typically arises under family law cases.  Alimony is ” an allowance authorized by law for one spouse to receive from the other for financial support.”  In other words, alimony is spousal support.

Who gets Alimony (spousal support) after a Divorce in Mississippi, and how much will it cost?

In Mississippi, a spouse can petition the court to award financial support from one spouse to another. This is known as alimony. If you can show financial need and your spouse has the financial means to support it, the court can award you alimony, also known as spousal support.

An alimony award might also be appropriate if you are unemployable, meaning that you lack training or education or you have a disability and are unable to work. To determine amount of alimony in Mississippi, Mississippi Chancellors (Judges) will look at several factors before reaching a decision.

Alimony Award Factors or Guidelines to be followed in the Award of Alimony in Mississippi

In the case of Armstrong v. Armstrong, the Mississippi Supreme Court set the following guidelines to be followed in the award of Alimony: 

  1. The income and expenses of the parties;
  2. The health and earning capacities of the parties;
  3. The needs of each party;
  4. The obligations and assets of each party;
  5. The length of the marriage;
  6. The presence or absence of minor children in the home, which may require that one or both of the parties either pay, or personally provide, child care;
  7. The age of the parties;
  8. The standard of living of the parties, both during the marriage and at the time of the support determination;
  9. The tax consequences of the spousal support order;
  10. Fault or misconduct;
  11. Wasteful dissipation of assets by either party; or
  12. Any other factor deemed by the court to be “just and equitable” in connection with the setting of spousal support.

Armstrong v. Armstrong, 618 So. 2d 1278 (1993)

Types of Alimony Awards in Mississippi

Mississippi Supreme Court has recognized and approved several general types of Alimony in Mississippi, including but not limited to:

Periodic Alimony in Mississippi

Period Alimony in Mississippi consists of payments set at specific time intervals for a certain period. For example, this could be a monthly payment for exactly ten years, or an order that lasts until a specific event occurs. This type of alimony ends when the dependent spouse gets remarried or if either spouse dies.

Either spouse can go to the court and ask for a modification if there are changed circumstances. Changed circumstances can be employment changes for either spouse, or any physical changes or injuries that prevent either spouse from working.

Lump Sum Alimony in Mississippi

Lump Sum Alimony in Mississippi is a one-time payment from one spouse to the other.  This is a final order between the two spouses that cannot be changed or modified.

Although lump sum payments are generally paid at one time, the Court may allow the payments to be made in fixed installments. For example, if you are ordered to pay your spouse $ 50,000, then you may be able to pay $ 25,000 at the time of divorce and then another $ 25,000 in six (6) months.

This is all dependent on court approval. All orders are final, so even if your circumstances change after the order, it is still your responsibility to follow the court order.

Rehabilitative Alimony in Mississippi

Rehabilitative Alimony in Mississippi has the purpose of helping one spouse obtain training or education to become self-supporting. This type of alimony is for a fixed period of time and is subject to modification.

For instance, if a Judge awards you rehabilitative alimony in Mississippi for 36 months, and you are able to become employed and self-supporting within 24 months, then your spouse can ask the court to end the alimony before the 36 months are over.

Other types of Alimony awards in Mississippi include:

  • Division of jointly accumulated property; and
  • Award of equitable interest in property

Bowe v. Bowe, 557 So. 2d 793, 794 (Miss. 1990).

Fault as Factor in Award of Alimony in Mississippi

At one time, courts used alimony in Mississippi as punishment, ordering a husband guilty of marital fault to pay alimony to the innocent wife. Today, courts often refer to alimony as spousal support and award it based on need and ability to pay, not on gender or as a punitive measure.

However, spouse at fault can be made to pay alimony to the innocent spouse, if the innocent spouse demonstrates a need for support. The following cases demonstrate that “fault” as a factor in award of alimony is alive and well in Mississippi.

O’Brien v. O’Brien, 149 So.3d. 508 (Miss.2014). The Court of Appeals rejected a husband’s argument that the Chancellor erred in considering his relationship with other women to award alimony in an irreconcilable differences divorce. The controlling Armstrong factors state that “fault or misconduct” is a factor to consider in awarding or denying alimony.

Ward v. Ward, 133 So. 3d 1244 (Miss. Ct. App. 2014). A homemaker wife of twenty years was awarded $ 2,500 in permanent alimony from her husband, a Federal Express pilot and retired member of the Air Force Reserves. The court did not err in reducing the alimony from $ 4,000 to $ 2,500 on the husband’s motion for reconsideration. The court found that her alcohol abuse was the cause of the marriage breakdown.

Calculating Alimony in Mississippi

Mississippi does not have specific guidelines or an alimony calculator.  Each Judge makes decisions on a case by case basis, depending on the factors listed above. There is no formula for calculating spousal support.

Tax Implications of Alimony in Mississippi

The general rule for alimony in Mississippi is that it is tax deductible to the spouse paying support and reportable as income by the receiving spouse.

Sources:

Armstrong v. Armstrong, 618 So. 2d 1278 (1993) – Factors considered in making alimony awards and types of awards.

Hubbard v. Hubbard, 656 So. 2d 124, 130 (Miss. 1995). Rehabilitative Alimony

Mississippi Code § 93-5-23 Custody of children; Alimony.

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Do you have questions regarding Alimony in Mississippi? Do you need help with your Family Law Matter?

Salu & Salu Law Firm has assisted several individuals with their family law matters.

Contact us today using the contact form below.  You may also send us an e-mail at salu@salulawfirm.com or call us at (662) 342-7007 to schedule a consultation with our Mississippi Family Law Attorney.