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Determining spousal maintenance or alimony in Mississippi

Divorce can have extreme financial consequences for the parties involved. In some cases, a dissolution will create a financial disparity between the parties. In Mississippi, if circumstances warrant, a judge can award alimony to help correct any economic unfairness that arises as the result of a divorce.

After receiving input from both parties, it will be up to a judge to determine whether spousal maintenance is appropriate. In determining the propriety of an award, a judge will consider the fairness of such an award to both parties and will weigh several factors prior to making a decision. The factors a judge will consider include both parties' income, as well as expenses and the standard of living the spouses enjoyed while they were married.

Age, needs and debts incurred by the parties are also factors that will be weighed when a spousal maintenance award is being determined. Other considerations include the health of the requesting spouse, as well as any ongoing medical conditions, marital misconduct and whether either party misused or dissipated marital assets prior to the divorce. These factors are typical, but are not exhaustive of what a judge may take into consideration when weighing an alimony award.

If spousal maintenance is warranted, the judge will decide the type, amount and frequency of payments. Periodic payment alimony is paid over time, can be modified, and terminates if either party dies or remarries. A lump sum alimony award, on the other hand, cannot be modified and survives the death or remarriage of any spouse. Although it's referred to as "lump sum," it can be made in a single payment or in several installments over time.

Source: Mississippi Code, Title 93, § 93-5-23, "Children; spousal maintenance or alimony; referrals for failure to pay child support," accessed Feb. 27, 2018.

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