From the Desk of Kristen Justis, Director of Marketing and Customer Relations
Alimony is defined as a husband or wife’s court-ordered provision for a spouse after separation or divorce. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial support to a spouse due to the change in their lifestyle upon the separation. While only 20 states still allow alimony, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. (Lauth) receives several clients due to provisions for alimony in a divorce.
Only 20 states allow for alimony and some are stricter than others on their provisions. The stricter states allow alimony to be a permanent obligation for life. Others allow receivers of alimony to receive further income should their ex marry another. Meaning, if the payor marries another, the new spouse will be obligated to pay some of their income to the receiver. Some states have a set formula giving the lower income spouse alimony of up to 40% of the higher income spouse’s salary. Below is the list of the states starting with the strictest states when it comes it alimony:
- New Mexico
- New York
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- New Hamshire
Every divorce and alimony decree are different. Some only requires alimony for a few years, while some require alimony to be permanent until death, others stipulate alimony ceases once the receiver of the alimony resides with a new companion, while some allows the new spouse of the payor has to pay a percentage into the alimony. The set time for alimony is clear cut for the ending of alimony payments. The alimony ending when the receiver resides with a new companion is far more difficult to document and prove to the Court.
Alimony Case Investigation
Lauth previously handled an investigation case for the payor of alimony as he believed his ex-wife to be living with a new spouse. This may seem like an easy thing to prove given our access to records on the internet and social media; however, people still have the means to be secretive and manipulative where money is concerned.
Trent, payor of alimony, resides in a state which ordered him to pay Mallory, receiver of alimony, $3,000 per month until Mallory began to reside with a new spouse. Since the divorce several years ago, Mallory moved out of state. Trent began to hear rumblings of Mallory living with a new spouse. He perused social media and saw her with a man several times; however, this did not prove they lived together. Trent began to do some research on his own.
Through his digging on the internet, Trent was able to confirm Mallory had purchased a home along with this new gentleman. Although it may appear they purchased the home to live together, this was not enough information for the Court to cease the alimony requirement. This is where Lauth comes in. Trent hired Lauth to get the full details of the living arrangement and use of the home in question.
The problem of just showing the two individuals purchasing the home together is they could be in business together to flip the home for sale, rent the home to others, starting a business in the home, etc. In order to receive a ruling for alimony to cease, all information must be concrete and prove fully the receiver is no longer in need of the spousal support as they have other forms of income.
The internet provides useful information; however, private investigators, such as Lauth, are able to answer all questions beyond a shadow of a doubt for clients. Lauth was able to locate the home, complete surveillance of the home, take pictures of Mallory and her significant other leaving the home consistently, and find further information on the use of the home. After given definitive proof from Lauth, Trent was able to show the Court Mallory no longer needs his spousal support. The Court ruled in his favor and he is now saving $3,000 per month.
When looking to get married, check out the laws in your state and consult an attorney. If there is an alimony law, attempt to establish a prenuptial agreement outlining your own parameters for alimony. If you are getting divorce, contact an attorney immediately and try to work with your ex-spouse on alternative agreements such as a one-time lump sum or a time period so the alimony is not a permanent requirement.
If you are paying or receiving alimony, ensure you stay aware of what the other is doing. On either side of the alimony, the actions of the other can cost or save a lot of money. The best way to stay aware is to work with a private investigator who can keep you updated without your name being involved and allowing you to get definitive answers to help you in Court.
Facing divorce is an extremely emotional event that affects all parties involved, especially if there are children. Divorces can be very emotionally charged, creating feelings of hostility, sadness, resentment, blame, insecurity, and jealousy. Without a doubt, divorce is a life-altering event and rationality does not always play a primary role in the behavior of the parties when experiencing such turmoil.
A “no-fault” divorce is based upon irreconcilable differences and defined as “dissolution of marriage that does not require a determination of misconduct by either party in the divorce,” meaning the petitioner is not required to prove the respondent has committed adultery, domestic abuse, abandonment, felony crime, or similar acts. Prior to no-fault divorces, respondents had been forced to recriminate and participate in a “blame game” prolonging the waiting period of the court’s decision, along with the emotional turmoil all parties experience during the process of divorce.
It is estimated 40-50% of marriages, and up to 60% of second marriages will end in divorce. The most common contributors to divorces are infidelity, accounting for approximately one-third of divorces. Other popular causes are simply growing apart, domestic abuse, financial problems, and sexual discontent, and even interference from family and friends.
As of October 2010, all fifty states and District of Columbia had adopted statutes that recognize a no-fault divorce and enable a court to make a decision without requiring the petitioner to present evidence against the respondent. In fact, according to research conducted by economists Betsy Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, incidents of domestic violence and female suicide have declined with the adoption of no-fault divorces. When mutual consent exists between both parties seeking a divorce, it can end the prolonged suffering of all involved.
Several issues exist that can influence a no-fault dissolution of marriage such as child custody and support, alimony, and the division of assets. When children are involved, allegations of infidelity and child abuse must be considered.
Dissolution and Dissipation of Assets
When adultery occurs in the mix of irreconcilable differences, emotions are at an all-time high but the parties must also consider the effect it can have on the dissolution of the marriage and equitable distribution of assets. When a spouse uses funds for his or her own benefit for purposes unrelated to the marriage while irreconcilable breakdown is occurring, it is termed dissipation of assets. Gambling and drug use can also become a factor when there is intentional dissipation or damage of marital assets. Of course, information relating to such allegations must be well documented in order to substantiate the link between the behavior and the overindulgence or hiding of assets.
Though state laws vary on how courts will determine the timing of wasted assets, an experienced private investigator can identify and document information related to gambling losses, squandered on a lover, criminal activity, and even failure to pay the couple’s primary bills such as mortgages.
When a wife maxes out her credit cards on frequent spending sprees or a husband purchases extravagant gifts for his mistress, a court can take these actions into consideration when dividing property, however these activities must be proven and carefully presented.
The majority of Americans consider infidelity morally wrong and there are still states that consider adultery a criminal offense. Though arrest is highly unlikely in the majority of infidelity cases, proof one party has committed a sexual act for the exchange of money (prostitution), can powerfully influence a court’s decision.
Dissolution and the Private Eye
When considering divorce, information legally collected by a private investigator (commonly referred to as a PI), can be a huge asset. Information obtained during a private investigation can be a strong bargaining tool between parties in an effort to prevent a prolonged and embarrassing court battle, or presented as evidence into court.
When a party going through a divorce is making allegations of misconduct as basis of dissolution of marriage, the incidents of misconduct must be carefully documented to be considered admissible in court. This is when the services of a licensed private investigator can be vital to establishing grounds for the divorce and certainly instrumental to a favorable outcome.
Private investigators have an obligation to those they represent to conduct investigations and surveillance in a legal and ethical manner. When presenting a case to the court it is important to present a true picture that is be presented when such as a comprehensive presentation of assets, spending, any illegal or immoral behavior, acquaintances, or criminal activity.
Thomas Lauth, a twenty-year private investigator, and owner of Lauth Investigations International headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, with offices in Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. Considered an authority in the field of private investigations.
Lauth has specialized client services to individuals facing a divorce. “We recognize divorce can be a traumatic event in the lives of our clients and focus on alleviating much of the stress by collecting the information, conducting surveillance, and properly presenting the information to prevent and even alleviating prolonged stress.”
Kym L. Pasqualini
Lauth Investigations International
201 N. Illinois St., 16th Floor – South Tower
Indianapolis, IN 46254