November 7, 2023
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is financial support paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce or separation. Alimony assists the lower-earning spouse in maintaining a similar standard of living post-divorce. The amount of alimony a spouse may receive depends on various factors and can vary significantly from case to case.
The best way to know how much alimony you might receive is to seek a consultation and evaluation with an experienced St. Petersburg divorce attorney near you.
Factors Influencing Alimony Awards
There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to alimony requests. Instead, the court will consider many factors when determining alimony, including:
The primary factor considered in alimony determinations is the income difference between the spouses. The higher-earning spouse typically must provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse.
Duration of Marriage
Longer marriages generally lead to higher alimony awards. Courts are more inclined to award alimony if the marriage lasted for a substantial period of time.
Standard of Living During Marriage
The lifestyle and standard of living established during the marriage play a significant role. Alimony helps the lower-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce.
Earning Potential and Education
The education, job skills, and earning potential of both spouses are important considerations. If one spouse has significantly higher earning potential, they may need to provide more substantial alimony.
Age and Health
The age and health of both spouses are considerations. Older spouses or those with health issues that limit their ability to work may receive higher alimony awards.
Child Custody Arrangements
The parenting arrangement of any children from the marriage can affect alimony. The custodial parent may have reduced earning capacity due to childcare responsibilities and may receive higher alimony.
Contributions to the Marriage
Courts may consider non-financial contributions, such as homemaking, child-rearing, or support of the higher-earning spouse’s career, when determining alimony awards.
Your divorce lawyer can review all these factors and determine whether you deserve alimony and how much you might seek. They can craft a persuasive argument and present evidence to demonstrate that you should receive fair financial support under the law.
Alimony is Often a Contentious Issue in Divorce
It is never surprising that a soon-to-be-ex-spouse likely does not want to provide financial support following the demise of a marriage.
Many people fight hard against making even temporary alimony payments, even if they realize it is the right arrangement, given the circumstances. Some spouses go as far as to conceal assets or engage in other fraud to misrepresent their financial advantage over a spouse and avoid alimony orders.
Because spouses often hotly contest alimony requests, this issue becomes a sticking point in many divorce cases. If you and your spouse cannot agree on every major issue, you cannot settle your divorce out of court.
If your spouse refuses to pay the alimony you deserve, you might have to present your arguments at trial before a family court judge. If this happens, the judge will weigh the above factors and issue a final ruling regarding the alimony you receive.
If a judge issues an unfavorable ruling, you cannot easily change it. Always hire a family law litigator with experience presenting arguments for alimony in court. If you cannot resolve the issue of alimony with your spouse, you need an aggressive advocate in front of the judge to protect your future.
You Can Modify Alimony
If you already have an alimony order and believe the amount is inadequate, there is the possibility of seeking a modification of the order. States have different requirements for modifications, but you must generally demonstrate that a substantial change in circumstances warrants the changes.
For example, imagine you were married for decades and now cannot work due to a disability. A judge ordered a certain amount of alimony based on your spouse’s income when you separated and divorced, though it will not cover your basic needs and uphold your quality of life. If your spouse recently received a substantial increase in earnings, you might seek a modification to receive more alimony.
Your family law attorney can advise whether you can seek a modification in your situation. If so, they can handle the entire process and advocate for the judge to modify your existing order. Just because you already have an alimony order in place does not necessarily mean you will receive all that you deserve.
If You Need Alimony, Consult the Right Divorce Lawyer Today
Determining alimony involves complex financial, personal, and lifestyle considerations. While some states have specific guidelines for calculating alimony, others grant judges significant discretion. Consulting an experienced divorce attorney can provide invaluable guidance in understanding how these factors may apply to your specific situation and seeking what you need for support.
Ultimately, alimony aims to provide financial stability to the lower-earning spouse as they transition into a new chapter of their life post-divorce. Never short-change your future by ignoring your right to alimony or accepting less than you deserve. Instead, hire the right family law firm in St. Petersburg to protect you, your legal rights, and your financial future.