If I am getting divorced do I have to pay alimony? 15 Answers as of May 25, 2011

I am currently in the military and currently in a divorce. We have to go to court on may 24, if the judge says on that date we are divorced, do I still have to pay her money. According to the USMC, I will stop paying her, but will the court say I have to and why. We have no kids together but she has a 3 year old from a previous relationship. And she has a job at Ihop. Will I have to pay her?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Semper Fi, Okay, Devil Dog, we need to talk. Where is the divorce taking place? Where are you right now and are you on active duty, active reserve or standard reserve? Do you have a lawyer on this case? If you do, have him or her call me. I wrote the book on military retirement in Texas in a Divorce case. I was the Adjutant for MWSS-274 for several years, served as a legal liaison to Wing Group 27, and was on I&I duty for a couple years while in Law School. I left the Marine Corps when I was about to graduate law school and was still a Sergeant. I love the Corps, but I had a choice to make. The important part of that is that I understand military benefits, and the law in Texas. So, I know how to protect your retirement and it has to be done up front. It is a pain to clear later. If your spouse is seeking a part of your retirement, you want the application of Berry v. Berry and the formula. DFAS wants it the way I do it, not on a QDRO like to many lawyers try to do it. Plus, using the Berry Formula, if she gets any of your retirement it is capped at a percentage earned during he marriage, NOT HALF. DO NOT LET HER CLAIM 1/2! She is not entitled to one half, even if you have been married for 10 years. That is the rule in North Carolina and Kentucky, so a lot of military men think it applies everywhere. It does not apply in Texas. She is entitled to a maximum of a formula amount that is 1/2 multiplied by a fraction created by the number of months you were married and serving active duty at the same time over the number of months you have at retirement (x for now, with x to be determined when you retire) so the longer you serve, the lower her percentage. By example, if you are married and serving for 10 years (120 months) and you retire at 20 years (240) months, her percentage is 1/2 X 120/240 which is equal to 25%. If you stay for 30 years, she gets 1/2 X 120/360 or 16.7%. Additionally, if done right, it can be capped at your current rank and TIS. Since I don't know your rank, lets say SSgt/E-6 with 10 years. When you retire, DFAS will determine your retirement amount (20 years = 50% of base) assume an E-6/10 earns $3000 in base. DFAS will calculate your retirement like this - if an E-6/10 could retire at 50% he would get $1500 and she gets 25% of that or $375/month. However, you will gain TIS and rank and more likely retire as an E-7/20 with a base pay of $4000. So DFAS calculates your retirement a second time as $2000 less the $375 she got and you keep $1625. While on paper she got 25%, she ends up with an effective 18.25%. By the way, that is not my only trick, I know how to cut it more off the top and tax free to you in an offset that cuts her portion without affecting yours. Trust me, I can do this in my sleep, most lawyers have no idea how to do it at all. Call me, 972-596-4000 or if you have a lawyer, have your lawyer call me. I will do what I can to protect you. I always protect Marines, we never leave a brother behind. Now, to answer your spousal support question. It depends on several factors but your BAQ is not a factor. If you are paying child support, know your current BAQ will remain with dependents - S1 can help you with that, you loose the wife, but the kids are still dependents entitled to benefits. Once the Judge sets your child support, the military will send that amount, even it if is more or less than your BAQ with dependents. Again, your S-1 knows this. Most likely, you will not pay spousal support post divorce. Spousal maintenance, as we call it, requires she 1) ask the court for it in writing in her pleadings, 2) ask for it in the courtroom, 3) she proves entitlement (married at least 10 years or she has been subject of spousal abuse; gross earning disparity; lack of sufficient assets to meet her minimum needs). If she meets all of these criteria, the Court MAY order spousal support for not more than 3 years and not more than 20% of your income and it is limited to the minimum time and amount necessary to meet her minimum needs or to provide for her until she can meet her minimum needs without the support. Very difficult to get, so do not agree to it. E-mail me back or call me on this matter, I will give you more information.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/25/2011
Seattle Divorce Services
Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
Whether you have to pay spousal support is up to the court to determine. There are a number of factors the court would consider, including the length of the marriage and each of your incomes.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/25/2011
The Grigsby Firm
The Grigsby Firm | Sherlock Grigsby
If she can demonstrate a need and the court finds that you are financially able to pay you could be ordered to pay support.
Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
Replied: 5/24/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
Alimony depends on a lot of factors. You are certainly free to discuss the case beforehand with the Family Relations Officers to see if you can reach an Agreement before appearing before the judge.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/24/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You haven't provided sufficient information for me to adequately evaluate your risk of a Spousal Support Judgment. However, if your wife has a 3-1/2 year old child from a former relationship, I surmise that your marriage has been a relatively short one. In marriages of less than 10 years duration, the Court generally awards Spousal Support for 1/2 of the duration of the marriage (if the facts in the case justify Spousal Support). Spousal Support is primarily based on the income of each party and the standard of living of the parties during the marriage. If your and your wife's incomes are fairly close to each other, assuming that those facts are accurately presented to the Court, it would be unlikely that the Court would award Spousal Support. On the other hand, if your income is significantly greater than your wife's income, there is a fair chance that the Court could award your wife Spousal Support, albeit for a limited duration.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Whether or not you will pay spousal support is based upon the relative earnings of the parties, not the status of your divorce. The military's concern is over supporting a spouse, which under the military code you are required to do. In this instance, you must follow court orders even if the military says it is ok to not pay. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Based on the limited amount of information provided, it's hard to determine whether you will owe any spousal support. Generally, short marriages (less than 5 years) do not give rise to an alimony obligation. However, there are several other factors that the Court will take into consideration. You can find a full list of those factors on my website's blog page. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Hard to say with the limited info you provided. However, if you are in California, you will have to pay support for a short time, probably less than a year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    It sounds unlikely. The other consideration that comes to mind is the length of marriage. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Whether you have to pay her or not will depend upon a lot of different things, including whether she can make it financially on her own or not. If she can't, then you may have to pay her something to help her out for awhile until she can get back on her feet with a 3 year old child to support as well. Of course, the father of the child should be supporting the child as well. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Am I to assume that the marriage is very short? Has her station in life changed since you got married (for example, had a much better job to be a stay at home mom and now has to work at Ihop). In a very short marriage, usually there is no alimony but I have seen it happen - either as a short term alimony or as a "buy out".
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    It depends on many factors such as your ability to pay, her need, the length of marriage, other assets and debts and your respective financial futures.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, the upcoming hearing may not be a final hearing. There are many hearings in divorce cases including temporary hearings where issues are addressed prior to the final divorce. Second, spousal support is dependent on a number of factors including , but not limited to the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the earning capacity of the parties, property divisions and more. As a result, without a detailed review, any analysis is would be just a wild guess. You would be wise to consult with legal counsel immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You are a little late in asking a question that should been discussed and dealt with sooner than the day before a court hearing. The specific answer requires an examination of the overall financial situation and there are no hard & fast rules. You might be required to pay some spousal support for some period of time, but with a short marriage and no children it should not be for a long period. The Marine Corps regulations do not overrule a state court ruling in the divorce case; so, if the court says you must provide some continued support, you are required to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/24/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You did not indicate whether or not you already have a divorce lawyer to represent you, but if you don't, I would urge you to hire one as soon as possible. It is impossible to predict what a judge might do in any divorce case, but your divorce attorney can help you fairly present all your facts in support of your side of the case. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/24/2011
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