Many are quick to assume that alimony is awarded all the time. However, this is not true in the state of Hawaii. Unless divorcing spouses agree, or there is a considerable wage difference between the spouses, alimony may not consistently be awarded.

If alimony becomes a point of contention as part of your divorce, the court system will determine whether alimony should be issued. Some of the factors taken into consideration by the Hawaii family courts include:

  • Both spouse’s physical and mental health
  • How long the couple was married
  • Both spouse’s earning capacity
  • Both spouse’s ages
  • Both spouse’s educational levels and work experiences
  • Both spouse’s contributions to the marriage
  • Both spouse’s standard of living while they were married
  • Both parties’ earning capacity
  • The income and expenses of both spouses

Ultimately, the court will want to be sure that both spouses, and any shared children, should be able to have the same standard of living they had during the marriage. If this means alimony should be paid, it will be awarded. However, if alimony is not necessary, it may not be.

If one spouse is expected to receive significantly less after the divorce settlement has been finalized, alimony might also be awarded. If you are unsure whether alimony will be awarded in your case, reach out to your divorce lawyer for clarity and support.

Can Alimony Change?

Alimony modification requests can be granted on a limited basis. There should have been a significant change in your circumstances for your alimony modification request to be granted.

This could include a physical injury or limitation, a significant increase or decrease in your income, or remarrying. In fact, under Hawaii law, unless your divorce settlement states otherwise, alimony will be terminated immediately when the spouse receiving alimony remarries.

Does the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affect Spousal Support

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could impact your divorce if your divorce was finalized on or after January 1, 2019.

These changes illuminate the need for spouses who pay or receive support to report their payments on their tax returns. This could significantly impact you personally, whether you are receiving or paying support.

If you were paying support, you would no longer be able to deduct your alimony payments on your tax return. Spouses receiving support are no longer required to report their alimony payments as income on their tax returns.

What about “Palimony”?

Palimony is awarded in cases where a non-married, cohabitating couple splits up and one partner requires financial support. For palimony to be awarded, the court will consider many factors, including the length of the relationship, whether any written or oral agreements were formed, both individual’s income and expenses, and other factors.

Do We Need to Go to Court to Determine Alimony?

You do not necessarily need to go to court to determine alimony. If you and your soon-to-be ex can agree without going to court, the judge can finalize your agreement if they rule it is equitable.

However, you may be able to attend mediation with your ex before going to trial. In mediation, the mediator will hear both parties and attempt to make helpful suggestions so you can resolve this discrepancy outside of court. If mediation proves unsuccessful, going to court may be the best way to determine whether alimony should be paid in your divorce.

How is Alimony Enforced in Honolulu?

When you owe alimony, you could face severe penalties from the court. This is considered a violation of a court order. Some of the consequences you could face for failure to pay your court-ordered alimony include:

  • Being found in contempt
  • Wage garnishment
  • Additional fines and fees
  • Money judgment with interest

Turn to a Honolulu Family Attorney for Help Today

The intricacies of alimony can be particularly complex. If you have concerns that your ex-spouse will seek additional alimony payments, or if you just want to ensure you are protecting yourself from being taken advantage of, an experienced legal advocate could make all the difference in your case.

Attorney Michael Fayard is here to help you make the process easier. Contact our office today for a consultation at (808) 445-6708 or use our online form.