Many of those going into their divorce proceedings in Gulfport do so expecting alimony (particularly those who were not the primary income earners in their marital homes). Yet while the purpose of alimony (or “spousal support,” which is the term many within the legal community use) is to help those left financially disadvantaged by their divorces to transition into their post-marital lives, its awarding is not automatic.

Indeed, family court officials consider a number of different factors when determining whether to award alimony. If they choose to do so, the question then becomes which type of alimony one should receive.

Establishing the need for alimony

The court must first decide if alimony is even warranted. Mississippi Supreme Court rulings set forth the standard when making this determination. Elements considered include:

  • The assets, liabilities and tax obligations of each party
  • Each party’s current earning capacity
  • The age and health status of each party
  • The standard of living a couple achieved during their marriage
  • The actions of each party in contributing to a couple’s debts
  • Whether the presence of minor children might require that one party focus on parental responsibilities rather than seeking gainful employment.

How each party’s individual actions might have led to the end of the marriage might also play a role in determining an alimony obligation.

The types of alimony in Mississippi

Per the Mississippi Bar Association, family courts may award one of two types of spousal support: periodic or lump sum. A periodic obligation requires that one offer financial assistance to their ex-spouse until a certain point in the future (either when they die or re-marry). Lump sum alimony is a single amount determined by the court to help cover one’s spouse’s divorce expenses (and/or to serve as compensation for whatever financial or professional sacrifices they made to further their spouse’s career.)