Alimony law is still an important part of divorce today. Historically an ex-husband paid it to his ex-wife, because the wife had not been part of the workforce. It was necessary to prevent, unfair treatment of the non-wage earner wife at a time when women did not work outside of the home. Two wage earner families have changed the nature of alimony, but it is still part of the divorce process. It should be noted that it is just a likely for a woman to pay alimony to a man if she is the higher wage earner as those cases where a man pays the woman alimony.
What Does the Court Consider?
The factors that a court considers in awarding alimony vary from state to state. The basic elements that the court considers are:
- The age of the parties
- The length of the marriage
- What it may take for the dependent spouse to become self-supporting
- The future earning capacity of the parties
- Whether both parties worked outside of the home during the marriage
- The current earnings of each party
The types of Alimony
There are several types of alimony that the court can award during the divorce process. They are as follows:
- Temporary alimony – is usually awarded when the parties are separated but not divorced. It can continue after the divorce if final under a different name.
- Rehabilitative alimony – is awarded to the dependent spouse to give support while the spouse gets additional training to reenter the workforce or time to find another job or relocate. It can also be awarded if there are young children in the family that would delay the dependent spouse’s entry into the workforce. Rehabilitation alimony lasts for a specific length of time.
- Permanent alimony – continues indefinitely, it is given in long-term marriages. Certain events can cause the permanent alimony to end such as
- Death of the spouse paying alimony
- Death of the spouse receiving alimony
- Remarriage of the spouse receiving alimony
- Long-term cohabitation with a member of the opposite sex
The amount of permanent alimony can change based on the receiving party’s circumstances, for instance receiving a higher paying job could cause the alimony to go down, while suffering an illness which makes the party unable to work could cause an increase in alimony.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
The laws relating to alimony vary from state to state. Consult legal counsel experienced in family law to protect your rights in divorce.