The alimony laws governing spousal support in Vermont is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the VT alimony law.
All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.
What is Alimony?
Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Green Mountain State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.
Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.
This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.
Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in VT
Temporary Support in Vermont
The goal of interim assistance is to give a lower-earning spouse the financial means to make ends meet while the divorce is being finalized. Temporary maintenance will stop when the divorce is finalized by the judge. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 594a.)
Rehabilitative Maintenance in VT
In Vermont, this is the most prevalent sort of spousal maintenance. Judges order rehabilitative support when a dependent spouse has the ability to be self-sufficient but needs time to obtain the requisite education or career training to find work.
Rehabilitative support is normally terminated by the court on a certain date or incident. If the beneficiary believes the further time is required, he or she may petition the court for a review. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 752 (a).)
Permanent Support in Vermont
Permanent support decrees are extremely uncommon. Long-term support is only granted in circumstances when one spouse is unable to work owing to age or disability. Alternatively, if there is a considerable wage disparity between the spouses, one spouse has been out of work for an extended period of time (stay-at-home parents), or there are other extenuating circumstances.
Permanent support is paid permanently unless the court rules differently, or until a review determines that the award is no longer warranted.
Who Pays Alimony in Vermont?
In Vermont alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.
Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Green Mountain State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.
So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Vermont if the above conditions are met.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in VT?
The duration to pay alimony in Vermont can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.
As provided by the alimony laws of VT, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.
How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Vermont
When it comes to collecting spousal support in Vermont, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.
Factors That Influence Spousal Support in Vermont
The average amount payable as spousal support in Vermont after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”
To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in VT, the courts in VT take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:
- earning capacity of each spouse.
- the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
- the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
- how long the marriage lasted
- the needs of each spouse
- the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
- each party’s tax consequences
- the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
- each spouse’s health and age
- each party’s balance of hardships
- whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
- will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
- any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- any other factors which the court wishes to consider
(Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 752 (b).)
This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Green Mountain State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.
Judges must additionally consider the percentage of the difference between the couples’ gross income until July 2021. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 752 (b) (8).)
The judge does not have to decide on the amount, type, or duration of spousal maintenance. Couples who want to keep control of their support award can negotiate the conditions that work best for them and submit the judge with a signed settlement agreement. The court will approve the arrangement as long as it is equitable to both couples.
How Alimony is Calculated in VT
The amount to be paid as spousal support in Vermont is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator
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FAQ About Vermont Alimony Laws
Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in VT:
Can a Husband get Alimony in VT?
Who Qualifies for Alimony in Vermont?
Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in VT, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 752 (a).)
How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in VT?
To understand how long alimony lasts in Vermont, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.
However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.
Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Vermont?
Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Vermont and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.
Is Alimony Mandatory in Green Mountain State?
Alimony is mandatory in Vermont as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.
Can Alimony be increased in Vermont?
Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:
- an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
- if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
- loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
- an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
- when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected
Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in VT?
Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Vermont. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.
If it’s a Vermont court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in VT}.
How to Modify Spousal Support in Vermont
When necessary, Vermont law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in VT usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.
When filing for a spousal support modification in Vermont, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. (Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 758.). A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in VT.
The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Vermont:
- Changes in income or employment
- Birth of a new child
- Health changes, including disability
- A new dependent
How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in VT?
In Green Mountain State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:
- that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
- the spouse proves that he has no source of income
- the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
- if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living
Remarriage Doesn’t Terminate Spousal Support in Vermont
Spousal maintenance in Vermont is unique in that it does not automatically end when the support recipient remarries or cohabitates with a partner in a “marriage-like” relationship. Rather, if the assisted spouse remarries, the supportive spouse can request that the support be reviewed and modified or terminated.
Maintenance will only be terminated if the receiving spouse’s remarriage (or cohabitation) considerably improves the spouse’s financial situation. (Johnson v. Johnson, 580 A. 2d 503.)
Alimony Laws in all 50 States
A Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas
C California | Colorado | Connecticut
D-H Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii
I Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa
K-L Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana
M Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana
N Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota
O Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon
P-S Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota
T-U Tennessee | Texas | Utah
V-W Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming