Alimony refers to the payments that a higher-earning spouse makes to a lower-earning spouse after divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage. Courts often consider several factors when determining whether to award alimony and how much the payments should be.
The length of the marriage
Generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that alimony will get awarded. This is because a long marriage is typically associated with a greater disparity in earnings between spouses. Additionally, the longer a couple gets married, the more likely it is that the lower-earning spouse will have given up career opportunities to care for the home or family. Courts often view alimony as a way to help the lower-earning spouse get back on their feet and become self-sufficient.
The earning capacity of each spouse
This includes factors such as education, work experience and job skills. If one spouse has a much higher earning potential than the other, it is more likely that they will be ordered to pay alimony. Just remember, even if one spouse has a higher earning potential, this does not guarantee that they will have to pay alimony because, for instance, the other spouse may have significant assets.
The age and health of each spouse
Generally, the younger and healthier a spouse is, the more likely they are to be ordered to pay alimony. This is because the younger and healthier spouse is more likely to be able to reenter the workforce and become self-sufficient. Also, if one spouse has significant health issues that will prevent them from working, this may increase the chances that they will get awarded alimony.
If you’re getting divorced and are worried about whether you will have to pay or receive alimony, it’s important to understand the factors that courts typically consider. While there is no guarantee that any one factor will determine the outcome, understanding how courts make decisions can help you better prepare for what to expect.