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How is Alimony Determined in Divorce?

Determining Alimony In A Divorce Varies By State

To understand how alimony is determined in divorce, you must be familiar with your state’s laws on the topic and have a clear understanding of all the factors that may influence whether or not you are awarded alimony.

One Spouse May Be Ordered To Pay The Other

In some situations, the court may decide that it is necessary for one spouse to make spousal support or alimony payments to the other spouse after the marriage has terminated. There is a large degree of discretion exercised by judges making this decision but there are numerous factors that are ultimately considered. Every state has a law determining what factors must be evaluated in determining alimony.

In general, courts will look at:

  • Reasonable expenses for each individual after the marriage ends.
  • How much money each of the spouses could reasonably earn every single month.
  • Whether alimony or a spousal support award from one spouse would make it possible for each individual to move forward with a lifestyle similar to what the couple had before the marriage ended. This is often referenced as the standard of living established during the couple’s marriage.

General Alimony Guideline

This is a general guideline regarding the standard of living and may not always reflect something that is necessarily equal. One of the most important factors determined in evaluating an alimony award is what each spouse could reasonably earn. This means taking into account their current income as well as their educational background and other training opportunities. These are the general guidelines followed on how is alimony determined in divorce?

Courts General Follows State Laws on How is Alimony Determined in Divorce?

Court decisions will often depend on the exact wording of the state’s individual law on how is alimony determined in divorce and this is one reason it is important to understand how your individual courts may interpret this law and apply in your case. In the event that alimony is awarded in your particular case, the paying spouse will be responsible for paying a particular amount every month until certain events happen including:

  • The remarriage of the former spouse
  • A date that is set by the judge a couple of years into the future
  • Until children no longer need a full-time parent in the home
  • One of you passes away
  • Some other major event such as retirement or disability occurs
  • After a reasonable time period during which the spouse receiving the payments is expected to have become somewhat self-supporting

You Can Always Come Up With Your Own Agreement

Bear in mind that much like many other decisions associated with a divorce, like dividing of assets in a divorce, you and your former spouse can come to your own agreement about spousal support payments and avoid a headache and expenses associated with litigation. There are many complex aspects of managing alimony and it may require changes in your work and home life.

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