Am I Entitled to Alimony (Spousal Support)?
Many people ask me if they are entitled to alimony (spousal support) in divorce. My honest response is it depends. A great deal of whether or not you are entitled depends on the length of the marriage and the income of the parties. The length of the marriage also depends on how long your receive support.
What the court is trying to accomplish with alimony is helping one spouse return to a level of living that he/she enjoyed during the marriage. The formula for deciding how much alimony is not a fixed mathematical formula. Unlike child support there are no true guidelines for an attorney to follow.
To help divorce attorneys like myself the court has given us factors to consider. They are to be used as guidelines to argue for or against alimony.
1. Need and ability of the parties to pay
2. Duration of the marriage (as stated above)
3. Age, physical and emotional health of the parties
4. Standard of living during the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living (as stated above)
5. Earning capacity, educational level, vocational skill and employ ability of the parties
6. How long has the party seeking alimony been out of work
7. Parental responsibilities for the children
8. Time and expense it will take for the education and training the seeking spouse will need to obtain employment
9. History of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party
10. The equitable distribution of property ordered during the divorce
11. The income available to either party from investments
12. The tax treatment to either party from an alimony award
13. Any other factors the court deems relevant.
All of the above are considered by the court and counsel when determining an appropriate figure. It is not an exact science but a starting point.
Alimony like child support can be increased or decreased after divorce if there is a substantial change in circumstances.
Alimony cannot be ordered if either party waives his/her right to it in the Property Settlement Agreement. It is important to understand that if you do not want it at the time of divorce and you waive your right, you can never get that right back.
If you have any questions related to alimony, please give our office a call to discuss. It is better to ask questions now and have a competent alimony attorney to help you through your divorce. Give us a call today to begin work on your case.