Alimony, or spousal support, is commonly sought after in divorce cases. The idea of having your ex-spouse pay your living expenses so that you can “live in the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to” sounds pretty wonderful. But what really is alimony, and how do you actually get it?
The purpose of alimony is to avoid any unfair economic consequences as a result of your divorce. It is a court-ordered payment that one party must make to the other in order to financially assist the other party. Alimony is not automatically awarded by a judge, and must be specifically requested by the party who wants to receive the financial support.
There are two major components that play a role in deciding whether alimony is appropriate in a case
First, the party requesting the alimony must have an actual need for alimony. This typically involves showing that without the additional financial support the party would be unable to support themselves, due to the fact that the parties are no longer married. The focus should be on necessities and not luxuries.
Second, the Court must consider whether the party that would be paying the alimony has the ability to pay. This involves showing that due to the party’s own monthly expenses it would be a financial hardship for the party to also contribute financially to their former spouse’s needs. The party must show that they are unable to afford monthly alimony payments in addition to their own monthly expenses.
Upon deciding whether there is both a need and an ability to pay, the Court must then consider ten factors to determine what type of alimony should be awarded. Among these factors are the length of the marriage, the standard of living of the parties during the marriage, the earning capacities of each party, and the contribution of each party to the marriage.
Additionally, there are four types of alimony that serve different purposes and vary in length of time. For example, “bridge the gap” alimony is meant to assist a party for a couple of years while they get back on their feet financially, while permanent alimony may last for several years. A judge may even order more than one type of alimony.
An attorney can assist you in figuring out which type of alimony you may be in need of.
Contact Calvo & Calvo today and get all of your alimony questions answered!