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Alimony in Divorce

There are certain situations where one spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support from the other spouse after a divorce. The point of spousal support – also referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance – is to provide income for a spouse who is either does not work or was earning a much lower wage than the other spouse, like when one spouse gave up their career to be a stay-at-home parent and raise the children.

Another purpose of alimony is to assist the lower-earning spouse in maintaining the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage until they are in a better financial position.

If you are considering a divorce, contact a lawyer to find out what type of divorce settlement you may be entitled to, including whether or not you may also be entitled to alimony. Call today to meet with a seasoned divorce attorney.

Determining if Support Is Warranted
In order to determine if support is warranted, the court will look at several different factors. The first factor is the gross income of the marriage. Income can include:

  • Wages
  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Dividends
  • Royalties
  • Trust income

Once the income of each spouse is determined, those figures are entered into an alimony calculator. The calculator also requires input of the length of the marriage. In many states, if a couple has been married for less than 10 years, support will not be ordered for any longer than half the amount of years the couple were married. For marriages over 10 years, the amount of time spousal support may be an extended period, if not indefinite. Your divorce attorney can determine how long you may be entitled to spousal support for.

In addition to the present and future earning capacity of each party, other factors the court will look at to determine how much and how long alimony should be paid are:

  • The contribution each party made to the marriage
  • The responsibilities and roles each spouse had in the marriage
  • The ability the “paying” spouse has to make spousal support payments
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • What is the level of hardship the divorce will have on each spouse
  • What, if any, tax consequences are there for either spouse
  • Is there any domestic violence history in the marriage

Although it may be surprising to hear, there are some people who, though they qualify for spousal support, may reject it. They may feel they just want to sever all ties with their former spouse and alimony would not allow them to do that.

Consult with an Attorney
Whatever your situation is, if you are considering a divorce, it is important to consult with a skilled divorce attorney to find out what all your legal options may be. Call a firm today to request a confidential consultation.