Factors That Influence Alimony Decisions

Have you decided to call it quits on your marriage and part ways with your spouse? Getting a divorce is a tough call, but it is a reality that you may face at some point over the course of your marriage.

One of the most contentious issues that you may need to settle is alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance. If you expect to receive alimony, you should first find out whether you qualify for it, as it isn't granted automatically by the court merely because you earn less than your partner.

Here are some key factors that a judge may consider when making a decision on whether or not you deserve alimony.

Your Income Relative to Your Spouse's Income

Do you have a source of income? One of the most important things to know before making an alimony claim in court is how your finances are  relative to those of your spouse. If they earn substantially more than you do, it is likely they will be ordered to pay some alimony. But if you both earn close to the same figure, you may not be awarded alimony. 

There is also a good chance you will be awarded alimony if you haven't been involved in income-generating activities because you were caring for your children. 

How Long the Marriage Has Lasted

When it comes to deciding alimony matters, the duration of the marriage counts. Generally, spousal maintenance isn't awarded for marriages that haven't lasted long, unless there are children and you have to stay at home to look after them.

However, if you have been married for many years and your partner makes substantially more money than you do, there is a good chance you will be awarded some alimony. As a matter of principle, alimony isn't generally awarded for short marriages to discourage people from getting married for financial gain. 

Your Age and Health

Getting a divorce in your old age or when you have a health condition that requires long-term management will increase your chances of receiving alimony because your ability to earn an income will be significantly reduced.

On the other hand, being young and healthy reduces your chances of getting alimony, especially if you earn the same income as your spouse and don't have to stay at home to take care of the children.

When it comes to alimony claims, don't agree to anything outside of court. The decision must be made in court to be legally binding and enforceable. Talk to an experienced family lawyer that serves your area to know your chances of successfully getting awarded alimony in court. Contact a family law firm to learn more.