What Affects Alimony Payments In A Divorce?

Law Blog

Alimony is the money paid by one spouse to another after divorce. There are many factors that affect how much alimony someone may have to pay, but the main purpose of alimony is to protect both spouses financially after a divorce. Here's how a court will calculate it.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is also called spousal support. It's money that one spouse pays to another after a divorce. These payments may be either permanent or temporary, based on the situation. The purpose of alimony is to recognize that spouses often make financial sacrifices for their family. The most common example is having one spouse stay home to take care of the kids while the other works. It's also common to put one spouse's career first and the other may only work part-time or might give up promotions in order to support the other spouse's career moves.

Alimony recognizes that marriage is a team effort. It's unfair for one spouse to have reduced earnings and needed work experience while the other benefits. Therefore, the spouse whose career was placed first will often be required to make alimony payments after a divorce.

How Does a Court Calculate Alimony?

Alimony payments are based on many factors, including how long the marriage lasted, what arrangements the spouses made, and the potential future earnings of both spouses. If a young couple divorces after being married for only a few years, the spouse who may not have been working is in a better position to be able to go back to school or otherwise advance in their career. With an older couple where one spouse has never worked, it can be hard for that spouse to find meaningful employment. Alimony, therefore, provides either temporary or permanent support based on the situation.

Can Alimony Be Changed?

The judge's order will usually state whether alimony is permanent or for a fixed amount of time. If the spouse paying alimony has a drop in income, they may be able to get the payments reduced. If the spouse receiving alimony has an increase in income, they may no longer need or be entitled to receive alimony.

A common situation where alimony gets changed is where the spouse receiving alimony remarries. When this happens, the previous alimony payments usually come to an end because not getting remarried is often a condition of receiving alimony.

To learn more about what will affect your alimony payments when you divorce, talk to a local divorce law firm, such as Thompson Salinas Londergan, LLP, today.


4 October 2021