Alimony is monetary support given to a spouse after or during the pendency of a divorce. No divorce is the same and alimony is the least predictable aspect of divorce. The judge has discretion in awarding alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance. Unlike child support, there are no statutory guidelines or mathematical formulas the judge can apply to calculate alimony, at least not yet.
The court’s decision is a factual one; that one party should pay alimony to the other is based on two factors. Whether the requesting party has the actual need for alimony and whether the other party has the ability to pay. Other factors the court may consider include the length of the marriage, the age and health of the requesting party, education and earning capacity, and contributions to the marriage.
If alimony is awarded, it may be in the following forms:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony – the support is granted for a period not to exceed two years to help the other spouse transition from married to single life.
- Durational alimony for moderate term marriages (7 – 17 years) not to exceed the number of years of the marriage.
- Rehabilitative alimony – the receiving spouse has a specific plan to become self-supporting, such as completing a college degree for a particular job placement.
- Permanent alimony – for long term marriages (17 years or more), until death of either party or remarriage.
- Lump Sum alimony – in certain cases where a spouse has a special need. The Court can award no alimony at all or a combination of different types of alimony.
For more information on custody, parenting plans, factors concerning children and timesharing, call 800-375-2942 for a free office consultation.