What is Alimony Based On?

What is Alimony Based On?

A lot of states specify “alimony” as court-ordered payments given by one ex to the other. Courts are also able to grant temporary spousal support while a divorce is unresolved

Judges grant alimony in an attempt to try and counterbalance the financial resources of a couple getting divorced. When determining whether to grant alimony, a judge is going to consider if one spouse has a exhibited financial need and if the other has the capability of paying.

Judges typically grant alimony in cases in which the spouses have dissimilar earning power and have been married a while. For instance, a judge isn’t probable to grant alimony when the couple has been married for just one year. As a matter of fact, many state laws allow alimony grants only when the couple has been married for a specific amount of time.

How Courts Determine Alimony

Each state has their own guidelines on what judges need to consider when determining whether to grant alimony or not. Many states require judges to assess:

  • how property is going to be divided in the divorce
  • the lifestyle throughout the marriage
  • the supported spouse’s capability to maintain a comparable lifestyle without support
  • each of the spouse’s income, assets, and debts
  • the period of the marriage
  • each of the spouse’s age and wellbeing
  • benefactions that either spouse has made to the other’s training, schooling, or career advancement, and
  • any other considerations the judge thinks are applicable.

Requesting Spousal Support

When you’re the spouse requesting support, the court is going to look closely at your current income or capability to earn if you currently don’t have a job. If the supported spouse has not been in the work-force or was underemployed (has the opportunity to work but decides not to) for a long period, the judge is more probable to grant support for a minimum of time as it is going to take for the supported spouse to become independent. For instance, when one spouse is educated as a dentist but took multiple years off to take care of children and back the others career, a judge is going to consider the medically educated spouse’s prospective earning possibilities. Perhaps that spouse requires initial support to get back into the work-force but not a long-term alimony grant.

Each of the spouses might need to make some lifestyle and work changes following the divorce. For instance, a judge could require a spouse that has a part-time job that doesn’t pay much to attempt to a find full-time job in a higher-earning area. Occasionally, a judge is going to order (or the paying spouse could possibly request) that a professional known as a “vocational evaluator” make a report to the judge on the job possibilities for a spouse that hasn’t been fully employed for some time. The evaluator is going to carry out vocational tests and then match the spouse’s qualifications with possible employers or open job positions in the field to calculate the amount of income the spouse could possibly earn.

Enforcing an Alimony Grant

The obligation to pay alimony starts immediately as an order requiring it is signed off by a judge. The alimony order can be enforced by the supported spouse: When the paying spouse isn’t in fact paying, the supported spouse is able to file a “show cause” motion, and the court is going to schedule a hearing to establish why the paying spouse isn’t adhering to the order and what the court are required to do for enforcing it.

Family law courts have different devices available to them to enforce alimony payments, and a good for nothing spouse might be subject to fines and penalties for failing to adhere to an alimony order. A court is also able to order a spouse to pay alimony after the fact to make up for any unseen payments.


    1. Kristina Otterstrom, A. (2021, October 8). Alimony: What do I need to know before divorce? www.nolo.com. Retrieved November 8, 2021, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/alimony-what-you-need-know-30081.html.

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