Factors to Consider When Determining Alimony in Court

Marriage is considered a partnership in all aspects of life, including financially. But what happens if the marriage is over and you have to start afresh and you don’t have the means to do it? The law says that you can get alimony from your ex until you get back on your feet.

Although going through the court system may seem ideal because you would consider a judge an impartial party, there are no set formulas they use to determine the amount of alimony you are entitled to, unlike child support. If both parties fail to agree on spousal support, a judge will consider the following factors to decide on the amount they allocate for each particular case.

How Does a Judge Decide if You Are Eligible for Alimony?

1. One Spouse’s Need and the Other’s Ability to Pay

The judge will take a look at the incomes of both parties to determine need and look to see if the other party can pay if alimony is set. In cases where you stopped working to take care of the home and the kids, you will need alimony to start over after the marriage has ended. The court will consider the other spouse’s earning capacity and consider other additional circumstances to determine the right amount of alimony.

The judge might consider property division during the divorce, the couple’s lifestyle during marriage, how long the marriage was, including any cohabitating period, the number of children and their needs, or the dependent spouse’s age and health, etc.

2. Each Spouse’s Earning Capacity

Here, the judge will consider earning potential instead of your actual income to determine spousal support. That means that if you chose to live a simple life, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your family i.e., if you can earn more, you should be earning more based on your skills and training. On the other hand, if you are the dependent spouse and started a home business that is generating an income, the judge will also factor that in the final decision regarding how much you should get.

3. Fault

When you decide to file for a divorce because your spouse was cheating, abusive, neglect, addiction, abandonment etc., you might be in a better position to get higher spousal support. This is, however, dependent on whether the errant spouse has a higher earning capacity than you and if  they can afford the set amount. The law on spousal support differs from state to state and in some cases; if the dependent spouse is found to be at fault, they might not receive any spousal support at all.

4. Time Needed to Get a Job

If the dependent spouse has training certification but has been out of the workforce for a long time, they might need some time before they can get a job. The same applies to a spouse that has no working skills and might require some time to go back to school and start working. The judge might also consider a spouse that contributed financially for the other to get a degree or further their career.

5. Tax Implications

Some states require the supporting spouse to have a taxable income before awarding spousal support. The amount of alimony allocated will be determined by the tax implications it will have on the paying party. An advantage to the supporting spouse is that they can write spousal support payments as a tax-deductible expense.

Why You Need a Lawyer During Divorce Proceedings

You will need representation during divorce proceedings so that they can fight for your rights and get you everything you deserve.


Natraj Studied bachelor's degree in finance and business from Telangana University, Nizamabad. A Writer based In India, He has a degree in Charted Accounts and has very knowledgeable in credit repair and Banking Sectors. So, I decided to start a blog and share my knowledge to the visitors.

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