How Much Alimony Will Be Paid? For How Long?

Alimony may be granted to either spouse. Contrary to child support, there are normally no “tables” or “guidelines”. It is a matter left to the discretion of the Judge who ultimately tries a case, and the attitudes of judges can vary as widely as those of yourself and your spouse. Some of the factors a Court will consider in making a decision about alimony are:

  • The financial resources of both parties
  • Their need and ability to pay
  • The duration of marriage
  • Their work experience
  • Their educational level and need for retraining
  • Their ages
  • Their standard of living during the marriage
  • Their health (both physical and emotional)
  • The nature and extent of property, both marital and nonmarital
  • The ability of the spouse from whom alimony is requested to meet his/her own needs

Once again, this is not universally true, and some states have formulas based upon the respective incomes of the parties and the duration of their marriage. Alimony is most often “rehabilitative alimony”, i.e., an amount of alimony and the period of time required to enable a financially dependent spouse to become financially self-sustaining over “equitable” or “lifetime” alimony. In marriages of short duration, the likelihood of, and the amount of, alimony is likely to be less than in a longer marriage. Most courts have the option to award “lifetime” or “indefinite” alimony if, even after a financially dependent spouse is “rehabilitated,” there is an unconscionable disparity in the lifestyles of the spouses. If one spouse has grounds for requesting alimony, it is wise for that spouse to confer with an attorney. Alimony is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payer.

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