What Are The Considerations When Applying For Alimony?

Family Lawyer

Spouses who have decided to get divorced will probably need to have several emotional and tense discussions. One of these conversations is likely to be about whether alimony is needed. The intention of alimony is to eliminate unfair financial impacts that result from the divorce, particularly if one spouse made significantly more than the other or one didn’t earn any wage at all. Most divorcing couples will have to agree to some degree of alimony, even if it is only temporary while one gets on their feet financially. 

What are the considerations when applying for alimony?

Some questions you may want to ask yourself include things like whether you really need the support, if you are more concerned about being able to support your children, and if you are being fair in how much you want from your ex. Sometimes, former spouses can get resentful towards the other and want to find ways to seek revenge for the heartache. It is best to view alimony with a factual eye and realistically evaluate whether you need the support in order to have a reasonably similar lifestyle that you had during the marriage.

How do alimony amounts get calculated?

If possible, you and your former spouse can establish alimony terms amongst yourselves or through mediation. Then, you can submit it to the courts for final approval. However, if you aren’t able to reach an agreement regarding alimony then a family court judge will decide for you. While each state may have specific laws pertaining to alimony, in general, these are the factors the court considers when calculating alimony amounts: 

  • The age and health of each spouse (physical condition, diagnosis, disabilities, mental health struggles, etc.)
  • Whether one spouse needs further training or education to obtain employment
  • How long the couple was married (the less time you were married, the less money may need to be paid in alimony)
  • The ability of the paying spouse to financially support the one requesting alimony (the paying spouse must still be able to support themselves too)
  • The standard of living when they were married, since the courts don’t want to see one spouse suffer greatly financially while the other rebounds right away

What if my former spouse has refused to pay alimony?

If the court has established an alimony order, then your former spouse is required to abide by its terms. If he or she doesn’t, then you can notify the court of the failure to make payments, so they can contact the paying spouse and enforce repercussions if needed. If you have an amicable relationship with your ex, you may want to contact them and ask about the missed payments. If your former spouse has been paying on time and suddenly stops, it is possible that he or she had a sudden job change, has gotten injured, or has faced another setback. Otherwise, the court can use various measures such as suspending a license or garnishing money from your ex’s wages to get you your alimony payments. 


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