Divorce involves many uncertainties, especially when it comes to money. After a divorce, many people find themselves unable to make ends meet without the income of their spouses they relied on during the marriage. You should not have to navigate alimony negotiations alone, so use this article to learn more about it and how an attorney can help.
How is spousal support determined?
Several factors determine spousal support, otherwise known as alimony.
Both parties’ income level
The court considers both spouses’ income when determining spousal support. If one party’s income far outweighs the other, or if one party earns an income and the other does not, then the alimony payments may be much higher. On the other hand, if both spouses have similar incomes, then the court may award a smaller alimony or even none at all. Keep your lawyer informed about your income and your ex-spouse’s income so that you can get the spousal support you deserve.
Ability to be self-sufficient
Oftentimes, one party is unable to be self-sufficient after a divorce due to lack of education and job experience. In order to find gainful employment and be self-sufficiency, that spouse needs time and education. The court takes into account the parties’ level of self-sufficiency when determining spousal support, giving the parties’ time to get back on their feet after a divorce. This type of spousal support is referred to as “temporary” or “rehabilitative” alimony.
If a dependent spouse needs education or job experience in order to become self-sufficient, then the court may order the supporting spouse to pay for school or supplement the dependent spouse’s income while enrolled in classes. If you are a dependent spouse looking to further your education to become self-sufficient, a consultation can you negotiate to get the support you need and answer any questions you may still have.
Standard of living before the divorce
The court will consider the couple’s standard of living during the marriage to determine what amount of spousal support is appropriate after a divorce. If a spouse’s standard of living was high during the marriage, then the court will likely award alimony to help keep that spouse in that standard of living after the divorce.
Future earning potential
When the court considers future earning potential, it looks at the parties’ job experience, current employment situation, and education. If one party has the potential to earn more money in the future based on job experience and education, then the court may award spousal support accordingly. We can take the guesswork out of determining your future earning potential, and determine exactly how much support you qualify for.
How long the marriage lasted
Long marriages require a time investment, money, resources, and emotional energy. The longer the marriage, the more that couple has put into the marriage. Therefore, the court may take into account the length of the marriage when determining how much spousal support to award. Ask an attorney how the length of your marriage can affect your spousal support, and how to get the alimony you deserve.
Your decision to get married again may impact whether you receive alimony. It is common for the court to order the termination of spousal support upon the remarriage of the person receiving the support. The court will not force someone to continue financially supplementing an ex-spouse who now has a new partner to rely on for support. There is, however, an exception. If a spouse has been ordered to pay for the education of the supported spouse, then the payment arrangement may continue after the supported spouse remarries.
Courts generally rely on these factors when determining the appropriate amount of spousal support to award. Some states, however, have moved forward with legislation that reforms the way courts determine alimony. Instead of relying on the discretion of a judge, there would be set, non-negotiable guidelines that determine the amount of spousal support to be awarded. This type of reform has not yet spread nationwide, but the your legal expert can help you determine if your alimony will be affected by reform.
For more information
Do not pursue alimony alone. For more information, contact Mann & Kemp at (501) 222-4730 today for a free consultation.