Understanding and Calculating Alimony in Idaho

Find out how alimony (spousal support) is awarded and calculated in Idaho.

A divorcing spouse in Idaho who is not self-supporting or cannot maintain a reasonable standard of living during or after a divorce can ask the court to award alimony. The court will look at all of the circumstances of the marriage and the divorce to determine whether to order alimony and to decide on the amount and duration of the payments.

The court may order temporary alimony while your divorce is pending and if you require financial support to maintain a home. It may order short-term alimony if you or your spouse need job training or education to become employable. Short-term alimony awards may last for a few months or a few years. The court may grant permanent or long-term support if your marriage was especially lengthy (usually more than 10 years).

To determine whether to order alimony payments, Idaho courts may consider the following factors:

  • the age, physical and emotional condition, and earning ability of the spouse seeking alimony
  • the paying spouse's ability to meet his or her own needs, and
  • the length of the marriage.

The judge may also consider whether one spouse needs time to obtain education or training in order to find suitable employment, as well as any potential tax consequences of the payments to both spouses. There is no set formula to calculate the amount of alimony, so the judge will look at your financial situation and at prior alimony cases to decide on a proper amount.

In Idaho, judges can consider fault in determining alimony awards. If one spouse is responsible for the marriage ending or was abusive to the other spouse or wasteful with the couple’s marital assets, the judge can award support to the other spouse on that basis.

Alimony awards may be tied to property settlements in Idaho, so you may receive monthly alimony payments or a lump sum once your divorce settles. To enforce an alimony award, you can ask the judge to issue an order to withhold income from your spouse's paycheck. A withholding order is also an option if your spouse has missed alimony payments.

If you want to modify your alimony order, you must show the court that financial circumstances have changed for you or your spouse. If there’s no specific ending date in the order, an alimony order ends when either spouse dies or if the spouse receiving support remarries.

Under federal tax law, the paying spouse may claim alimony payments as a tax deduction, while the supported spouse must claim the payments as income if the alimony is court ordered.

Idaho Code § 32-705

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