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Alimony in Mississippi
After the equitable division of martial property, the final step the court must complete is a consideration of alimony. If the equitably divided marital assets will adequately provide for each party, no alimony should be awarded. If one party is left with a deficit after the marital property is equitably divided, alimony is considered. The three types of alimony available under Mississippi law are periodic alimony, lump sum alimony, and rehabilitative alimony.
The purpose of periodic alimony or "support" alimony is to provide the receiving spouse with a stream of income for an indefinite period of time. Periodic alimony terminates upon the remarriage of the receiving spouse or the death of the paying spouse. Periodic alimony may be modified by increasing, decreasing, or terminating the award. The modification may be made only upon order of the court, not by one of the parties acting alone.
Lump Sum Alimony
Lump sum alimony differs in that it is not subject to modification, unless one of the parties has committed fraud. Lump sum alimony vests in the receiving spouse and becomes an obligation of the estate of the paying spouse in the event death occurs before payment is completed. Lump sum alimony is intended as an equalizer between the parties to serve equity amongst them completely, once and for all. Lump sum alimony may be payable in a single lump sum or fixed periodic installments.
Rehabilitative alimony allows one party to receive support from the other for a fixed, definite duration and is for the purpose of allowing the party needing assistance to become self-supporting without becoming destitute in the interim. Rehabilitative alimony is not intended as an equalizer between the parties. Its purpose is to allow the recipient to start anew without becoming destitute. Rehabilitative alimony may be modified by increasing, decreasing, or terminating the award.
Factors to Consider
When considering whether to award alimony, how much alimony to award, or which type alimony to award, the court evaluates the following twelve factors:
The Mississippi court determines child custody based on the best interests of the child. The court can award sole or joint custody, and if the child is 12 years old or older, the court considers the wishes of the child.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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