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How Does Alimony Work?

Alimony is financial support provided by one spouse to the other if there is a significant financial disparity between them upon separation and after divorce. Requests for alimony must be made before a final judgment of divorce is issued. Each state has guidelines to calculate alimony, and it can often be hard to estimate how much alimony you’re entitled to receive or pay. Take a look at the general way alimony is determined.

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Types of Alimony

There are two types of alimony you or your spouse can seek: rehabilitative alimony and permanent/indefinite alimony. 

Rehabilitative alimony is support that is limited to a specific time period. This short term support is meant to enable the other spouse to get back on their feet. For example, spouses can use this support while they do things such as:

  • Go back to school 
  • Find a job
  • Acquire skills that would allow them to increase their earning potential

Permanent/ Indefinite alimony, as the name suggests, is long-term financial support. If your spouse is unable to work due to old age or illness, a judge may grant this type of alimony. A judge may also grant this type of alimony if one spouse’s standard of living changes drastically after a divorce due to a major disparity in income. 

Factors that Affect Alimony

Alimony is not an absolute right in all divorce cases.  In order for a spouse to be granted alimony, they must present evidence that they are entitled to an award of alimony based upon 12 factors:

  1. The ability of the parties seeking alimony to fully support themselves;
  2. The time it would take the party seeking alimony to gain the education or training required to secure suitable employment;
  3. The disparity between the parties as to their standard of living compared to the standard of living established while they were married;
  4. The duration of the marriage;
  5. The monetary and non-monetary contributions made by each party to the well-being of the family
  6. The circumstances that contributed to their separation and divorce;
  7. The age of each party;
  8. The physical and mental condition of each party;
  9. The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to support themselves while also supporting the spouse;
  10. If there have been any agreements made between the spouses with regard to alimony (such as in a prenuptial agreement);
  11. The financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
  12. Whether a spouse is institutionalized and may need medical assistance sooner than expected

Want to Increase Your Chances of Fair Alimony Support?

Whether you’re seeking alimony from your spouse or are looking to avoid paying alimony, Zhanna A. Maydanich can help. Her years of experience with family law can help deliver fair results as well as help guide you through the process of divorce. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your unique situation. 

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