By Andrea Johnson
In many states, there is no hard and fast method of calculating alimony payments. And to be quite frank, estimating what a judge may do is often fruitless.
Because the laws of many states allow so much judicial discretion in calculating alimony, the methods and manners for determining whether alimony is appropriate and/or how much alimony should be paid may vary from court to court.
My wife and I signed a legal separation agreement stating I would pay her alimony and child support. But while we were legally separated, we ended up moving back in together, shared bills, traveled together, etc.
During this time I did not pay the support that was outlined in the agreement because we were living together. Now that we have moved out again she was able to get a contempt of court order against me for failing to pay support during that time period.
Is our legal separation agreement binding? How can I prove that even though I did not pay the support it was because we were living together?
Does the court recognize the petition date as the end of the marriage or would the divorce need to be final before our 10th anniversary in order to ensure I would not need to pay alimony?