Alimony can be a contentious part of a divorce, depending on the situation you're in. If you're a person who brings in around $60,000 a year, for example, the idea of paying out a substantial amount in alimony could threaten your financial stability. However, if both parties are employed, you might not end up paying anything, or the amount you need to pay could be reduced.
Spousal support is there to do just that: Support a spouse who does not have enough funds or opportunities to support themselves following a divorce. Contrary to popular belief, it is not always the husband or man who pays alimony. If a woman earns more, then she may end up paying alimony to her spouse.
How does a judge determine alimony?
To begin with, you may have the option of coming to a settlement agreement with your spouse. If you do that, you can include a settlement for alimony in that agreement, so a judge has no say in how much you pay. However, the judge does have to approve the settlement, so make sure it's fair enough to get through the courts.
If the case goes to court and requires the judge to make a decision on how much alimony is necessary, then they'll look at a few different factors. Some of those factors include:
- The age of both spouses
- The emotional state of either or both spouses
- Each person's financial position
- The length of the marriage
- The ability to pay and still support yourself
- Your standard of living during marriage
Why does the length of the marriage matter?
The length of your marriage is one of the most significant factors in a spousal support case. Someone who is married for a year has not been out of the job market long (if they did not work) or likely did not get affected financially in the same way as they might have in a longer-term marriage. Both parties are not as reliant on each other in such a short marriage, either, which has its own implications. However, if you have been married for decades, then that changes the judge's view.
In long-term marriages, one spouse might have supported the other, even if the roles are reversed now. They might have taken off work to have children. There are so many other factors that could influence the case, that spousal support becomes more likely.
These are a few things to consider about spousal support. If you are worried about having to pay, it's a good idea to talk to your attorney about your options.