Factors That A Family Court Judge May Use When Imposing Alimony Payments

If you are reading this, then chances are you or someone you love is going through a divorce. Depending on the dynamic and standard of living that occurred during the marriage, one of the divorcing spouses may be pursuing alimony with the help of a divorce attorney, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. The issues that must be worked through during divorce can be stressful and difficult. Alimony is certainly a topic that is often filled with contempt, as resentments could build over who should pay and for how much.

Many spouses have to attend court over an alimony dispute, because they are unable to establish the terms themselves. Here we have gone over the factors that a family court judge may use when imposing an alimony payment onto a spouse: 

Each Spouses’ Earning Capacity

How much each spouse is going to be a leading factor in who must pay alimony, for how much, and for how long. This factor considers the supported spouse’s ability to get into the job force if they were formerly a stay at home parent or homemaker while married. The court understands that the supported spouse may have to enter the workforce after many years away, particularly if they stayed home to raise children.

If the children are old enough that a full-time parent isn’t needed, then the court may give the supported spouse time to build up their resume, so to speak. The supported spouse may be given a certain period of time to get a job, receive training, or take a class that helps them become more employable. 

The court will also take into consideration how much the supporting spouse earns, to ensure that alimony payments wouldn’t cause them to have financial trouble. 

How Both Spouses Supported The Other

During the marriage, it is possible that one spouse stayed at home or helped pay for classes/training so the other could achieve their career goals. The family courts do recognize that one spouse may have chosen to sacrifice their career or goals so that the other could be supported. The court may determine that it’s fair for the supported spouse to receive alimony payments, especially when they contributed to the other spouse’s success. 

Standard of Living During The Marriage

A family court judge may inquire into the standard of living that the spouses had during their marriage, in order to decide to what degree the recipient spouse needs monetary support. While the court will attempt to establish an amount that enables both spouses to have a similar standard of life after marriage, it may not be possible to have the exact same lifestyle. 

Length of Marriage

Depending on the state, a couple may have to be married for a specific period of time in order to be eligible for alimony support. In general, family courts may award alimony for half the length of the marriage. For those who were married for more than a decade, lifelong alimony may be imposed. This isn’t an absolute rule, as the judge will consider other variables and will ultimately make the decision based on what they believe is most appropriate.