Alimony can be an important means of financial support for one spouse after a divorce. Individuals in the process of divorcing are often highly focused on the issue of alimony because they fear being left financially devastated after the dissolution of their marriage. Hiring a divorce lawyer is especially important for a divorcing individual who feels that he or she has the right to alimony from the ex-spouse.
If you're wondering what your chances are of receiving alimony after a divorce, you should be aware of the following eight factors that influence alimony decisions:
One of the most important factors is the laws applicable in the state in which the couple is divorcing. Laws dictating alimony decisions can vary widely by state, so individuals should discuss their own state laws with their lawyers to better understand their situations.
The income of each spouse
The income level of each spouse is important in making alimony decisions. If a spouse is clearly making enough money to support himself or herself—or is making almost as much money as the other spouse—an alimony award is less likely to be given.
The duration of the marriage
The longer the marriage, the more likely alimony will be awarded. If a marriage lasted a long time and one spouse was functioning as a homemaker throughout the marriage, that spouse might naturally face challenges when trying to support himself or herself after the divorce. Therefore, an alimony award is likely.
The age of each spouse
It is assumed by the court that an older spouse will have more difficulty entering the job market after a divorce than a younger spouse. Therefore, alimony awards to older ex-spouses are more common.
The health of each spouse
Sometimes, ex-spouses receive alimony awards because they are prohibited from finding employment due to poor health.
The "marital standard of living"
During a divorce, the married couple's way of life will be analyzed when decisions are made regarding alimony payments. Each spouse should be able to go on living at the same standard of living after the divorce, so an alimony award is likely if one spouse can't maintain this standard of living independently.
Past contributions to educational or career expenses
Often, one spouse contributes to another spouse's educational achievements by paying the bills while the other spouse is in school or contributing to his or her tuition. If this is the case, the spouse can expect to be compensated for those contributions after the divorce.
While determining fault when a marriage ends can be difficult, many states factor fault into alimony decisions. If one spouse has shown poor marital conduct through fidelity issues, for example, an alimony award may be more likely.
For more information about how alimony is determined, contact a divorce attorney.