Alimony, also called “spousal support,” is a regular payment one spouse makes to the other spouse to provide financial support during and/or after a divorce. Spouses can agree to the amount and duration of spousal support, or a court may order it if the spouses can’t agree.
Under Oklahoma law, the court may order may order temporary spousal support, which is called “spousal maintenance.” Spousal maintenance is support paid during the divorce proceeding, meaning after the divorce action is filed up until the final judgment of divorce.
The court may also order alimony at the time the divorce decree issues. Alimony may be paid in the form of a money judgment, either in one lump sum or in installments over time. The court might also order that alimony is paid from real or personal property, based on the value of the property at the time of the divorce.
In Oklahoma, courts don't rely on guideline calculations when deciding whether to order alimony, or the type, amount, manner, and duration of payments. The court will look at the spouses’ circumstances, considering the needs of each spouse and the ability of the supporting spouse to pay. The court will also consider the length of marriage and spouses’ ability to be self-supporting.
Temporary spousal maintenance orders last only while the divorce action is pending. They end when the court issues the final divorce decree.
The duration of alimony orders made in the divorce decree will depend on what the court finds is reasonable under the circumstances. The court will consider the length of the marriage and how long it will take the supported spouse to become self-supporting.
Regardless of the length of the alimony order, alimony will end automatically under the following circumstances:
The court can modify (change) a spousal support order upon the request of either spouse. The spouse seeking the modification must show that circumstances have changed in such a way that the current order for support is unreasonable.
An involuntary increase or decrease in income or living expenses is an example of a change in circumstances that might justify a modification of alimony. In addition, if the supported spouse cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex, a court may decide to decrease the amount of support.
In general, the spouse paying support can deduct the payments from taxable income. For the spouse receiving support, the payments count as income and are taxable.
The alimony and spousal maintenance laws in Oklahoma are found in Title 43, ections 110, 121, and 134 of the Oklahoma Statutes. You can read the laws by clicking here.