3 Concerns About Alimony During A Divorce

One often-contested aspect of a divorce is the amount of money one spouse pays to the other in spousal support. These payments can be critical to helping a lower-earning spouse get back on their feet after a divorce, and there are often many questions about it. Here are some things you likely want to know about alimony payments.

When Is A Spouse Awarded Alimony?

A judge is going to be the one to determine if alimony should be awarded after a divorce by looking at each person's financial standings. If the judge feels as if a person doesn't have the ability to meet their minimum financial needs, the judge will likely decide that spousal support will be appropriate.

However, that is not the only requirement. They will also look at things like how long a couple has been married, if there was a history of abuse in the marriage, or even the spouse's ability to work. For example, if one person needs to stay at home with a special needs child, that could cause the need for alimony because they are simply unable to work a normal job due to the care they have to provide.

Does Alimony Last Forever?

The good news for spouses that need to pay alimony is that it will likely not last forever. Each state has its own guidelines for how long spousal support can continue, so it really depends on where you live. While there are states that do have permanent alimony, the payments would end if the person receiving alimony were to get married. Other states place limits based on the length of the marriage. For example, alimony may last for half of the length of the marriage.

What Determines Alimony Payments?

The main factor used to determine alimony payments is the minimal amount of money needed for a person to get back on their feet after a divorce and maintain their standard of living. Once again, each state has its own laws regarding the maximum amount of alimony that can be received. A judge may look at the amount of money someone needs to pay their minimum monthly expenses and how much they are capable of making at the moment, and have the other spouse pay the difference. The maximum amount owed for alimony is typically based on a percentage of the income of the person paying the support. Therefore, the support payments may not be enough if they are a low earner.

To learn more, contact a family law attorney.