Which Spouse Pays Alimony?

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Alimony is usually an important topic of discussion when it comes to divorce. Although state laws vary on this issue, courts commonly use the “the standard of living of the marriage” to determine alimony.

The standard of living will range from situation to situation. For example, some spouses’ standard of living includes a lavish lifestyle while others live in moderation. In order for a judge to determine whether to award alimony, the judge will examine whether both spouses can live in a similar standard of living after the termination of the marriage as they did during the marriage.

The purpose of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is to prevent unfair economic effects divorcing to the receiving spouse. The receiving spouse typically earns less income than the providing spouse.

Of course, if the parties are engaging a mediation process or collaborative process, one spouse may waive his or her right to alimony. Moreover, spouses may agree on the amount of alimony that will be given and the term of the alimony.

If the matter is litigated, Judges consider many factors when deciding whether alimony will be awarded. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. The actual ability of the parties to pay
  2. The duration of the marriage
  3. The standard of living established during the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living
  4. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties
  5. The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance
  6. The parental responsibilities for the children
  7. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income
  8. Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

It is important to speak with an attorney to determine whether your divorce will be subject to alimony.