Each state has created laws and regulations pertaining to when two married people go through divorce. There are certain contributing factors that can determine which spouse, how much, and for how long alimony is awarded. Parting ways from your spouse is often not an easy feat, both financially and mentally.

A divorce lawyer can provide insight and guidance during such an emotional and confusing time. We encourage those who are struggling with the process of divorce, including alimony, to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible. One of the biggest concerns you might have is what factors a judge may consider when enforcing the terms of alimony.

Who Is More Dependent?

A major influencing factor in who gets alimony and for what amount, is regarding which spouse is more dependent on the other financially. A family court judge is likely to weigh significant importance on what kind of arrangement will enable both spouses to live at a reasonably similar standard as when married. The judge may look at how much each spouse earns to decide who is more dependent than the other. 

In some situations, the decision may be easy — particularly if one spouse stayed at home to care for kids while the other worked to earn the total household income. But in other circumstances, it may not be as simple. Both spouses may have fluctuated in income over the years, taken turns supporting the other, and need help from an attorney to figure out what is a fair arrangement. The court is probably going to evaluate these factors when establishing the terms of alimony:

  1. How much each spouse makes (or could earn) per month
  2. How much each spouse sends in expenses related to necessary living (such as rent, groceries, medication, health care, clothing etc.)
  3. How much one spouse requires in order to live without financial hardships, and whether the other spouse makes enough to satisfy that need

What Is Standard of Living?

Family court systems often strive to create an alimony arrangement that enables both spouses to maintain a standard of living similar to what was experienced during the marriage. The goal for alimony is to minimize post-separation monetary hardships for both spouses. Courts do not consider lavish purchases to be part of necessary living expenses. So, a spouse that spends hundreds or thousands of dollars on frivolous items or services, may have to make substantial changes to his or her lifestyle after divorce. An attorney can talk with you further about what your marriage dynamic and living looked like, and how this may impact what the judge decides for your alimony arrangement. 

A Lawyer’s Commitment

Lawyers take divorce disputes very seriously. They can understand the emotional, financial, and mental anguish that you may be going through. Divorce can trigger frustration, resentment, and anxiety for the future. Attorneys will do what they can to provide support and representation during this time.