Sylvia and Merlin have been married for decades. Merlin's been the primary financial provider while Sylvia took care of the kids and then got a job as an assistant showing apartment units at an apartment complex. Merlin makes decent money as an HVAC installer. As many people do, they fell out of love and Merlin asked for a divorce. Sylvia and Merlin spoke for quite some time over many months and Merlin apparently promised to take care of her by way of alimony.
Merlin files for divorce even though he had agreed with Sylvia that she would be the filing party. Merlin's attorney makes Sylvia an offer on behalf of her husband. Most things are agreeable to Sylvia but there is no mention of alimony. She asks Merlin about it. He is silent about it. Sylvia retains an attorney to look into the offer and the alimony aspect.
Sylvia's attorney confirms that she is a viable candidate to ask for rehabilitative alimony in the divorce.
Sylvia wants to make demand for a higher amount of alimony than might otherwise be prudent. Sylvia and her attorney go over the options and realize their might be a better option, namely to take more of a cash distribution on Merlin's 401k or buyout on the house and waive the alimony.
Sylvia likes the idea of getting the money up front but realizes her attorney's suggestion means that Sylvia will receive somewhat less over time.
Sylvia's attorney quickly explains that alimony is taxed as income and therefore she will not get all the money she projects as alimony actually in her pocket.
Sylvia realizes that she actually is better off with a payment upfront than with alimony for several years because she now sees a substantial part of her alimony disappearing and going to taxes.
Sylvia's focus changes to an upfront payment and how she can get it and disregards considering it as alimony. In the end Merlin may regret the disappearing alimony.
Alimony under Rhode Island Law is rehabilitative in nature and is based upon a plethora of factors that that the Rhode Island Family Court Judge takes into account at the time of trial.
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However, one key factor to remember in this instance is that the payor of the Alimony gets a dollar for dollar deduction against his or her taxes and the payee/recipient of the Alimony must pay tax on the alimony received in the same manner as if it were income.