Alimony, or spousal support, can give a dependent spouse the financial assistance he or she needs to move forward after divorce. Some people incorrectly assume that the court will award them a split share of their soon-to-be former spouse's income. In truth, the court will consider several factors in deciding how much is owed. If you are filing for divorce, here are some of the factors that the court could use to determine the alimony payments.
Length of the Marriage
In most states, the longer you are married, the larger the alimony payment will be. The length of your marriage also plays a role in just how long your payments are scheduled to last. Longer marriages tend to result in a permanent alimony support award. Shorter marriages usually have a time limit placed on them.
If you and your spouse were married for a short period of time, alimony can still be ordered. Whether it is ordered depends on other factors also, including the health of each spouse.
Physical and Mental Condition
The physical and mental condition of each spouse is important because if the recipient is in poor health, his or her ability to find a job or other source of income could be severely limited. The court could decide to order additional support to help with medical bills and other expenses that the recipient has.
The health condition of the paying spouse is also important. If he or she is older or in poor health, the court could place limits on how long he or she must pay spousal support. The court could even decide to decrease the amount of the payments.
One of the biggest misconceptions about determining spousal support is that the court will only consider financial contributions to the marital assets. The court considers other contributions, including child rearing, support offered towards the other spouse in building a business, and homemaking.
Although it can be challenging to place a financial value on those contributions, the court relies on various formulas to calculate the worth of those contributions. The formulas used can vary by court and state, but an attorney can help give you an idea of what to expect.
There are many other factors that the court will consider when determining spousal support. Talk to local divorce attorneys early in the divorce process to learn more about those factors and what you can do to obtain a reasonable payment amount.