Alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance) is money one spouse pays to support another spouse during or after a divorce. It is not paid in every divorce and is paid only when one spouse has supported the other spouse during the marriage. Alimony is an effort to rectify the economic imbalance in the earning power and standard of living of the divorced spouses and the amount of the alimony is based on the particular facts of the case. The primary factors considered are the needs of the spouse requesting alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay it.
There are several types of alimony and the courts have wide discretion in determining the type, duration and amount of alimony.
The relevant factors considered by the courts in fixing the amount of alimony include the:
- Financial circumstances of both parties
- Couple’s past standard of living
- Value of jointly owned property
- Amount and nature of the parties’ income, both current and anticipated
- Extent and nature of the resources and assets of each of the parties
- Amount of income of each that is spendable
- Earning ability and capacity of each party
- Property awarded or given to one of the parties, either by the court or the other party
- Disposition made of the homestead or jointly owned property
- Condition of health and medical needs of both husband and wife
- Duration of the marriage
- Amount of child support
Alimony Enforcement Actions
Unfortunately many divorced parents find it necessary to initiate enforcement proceedings related to court-ordered alimony payments. Since the purpose of spousal support is to rectify the economic imbalance in the earning power and standard of living of the divorced spouses it is unfair to you when alimony payments are late, not the ordered amount or not being paid at all.