Why Alimony Exists

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Divorce

Divorce is a complicated process. It even involves the separation of assets and other liabilities, which can potentially have a financial impact on the couple. There are instances where this separation makes one of the parties involved to draw the shorter end of the stick.

This can happen because of various reasons. For example, the wife decides to stay at home to take care of the kids, sacrificing her marketability to the job market and her skills. The husband, on the other hand, benefits more because he gets to keep his job while his partner gets more responsibility at home. In time, this can have a significant disparity in husband and wife.

The wife is at risk of financial dependency and the husband is bound to have more financial freedom. This can be damaging when the couple decides to get a divorce, as it leaves the wife with limited employment opportunities.

For this reason, there is a thing called alimony or spousal support, to make up for all the lost time and money that could have resulted from the sacrifices involved in marriage. Some of the factors that are considered to determine alimony include the following:

  • The ability of the spouse to pay
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Duration of the spouse’s absence to the job market
  • The spouse’s educational level, skill marketability, and overall earning capacity
  • Duration of education or training to make the spouse reasonably marketable in the job market

It is also important to point out that alimony is not just about employment issues, but also about other problems such as health conditions. If the spouse has health conditions that may affect his or her ability to work efficiently or may require medical treatment, he or she may be eligible for spousal support.

Spousal support can also be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Temporary spousal support is issued for those who can solve or minimize the issues in time, such as the issues in employment that can be solved by adequate training. Permanent spousal support may be given to those who have issues that are not time-dependent, such as permanent medical conditions that may prevent the person from going to work.

Alimony can be a complicated legal matter. In fact, determining alimony agreements can be very difficult, especially if the parties involved are unable to agree on the terms.

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Facts about alimony in the United States

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Divorce

When there is a high income inequality between divorcing partners, there exists an opportunity for the lesser-earning individual to request financial support from their former spouse. However, unlike child support, which is determined by factors such as the salary of the paying parent and the number of children, alimony is determined entirely at the discretion of the judge. For some, the looming threat of spousal support is a dark cloud of mystery: what is it? Will I have to pay it? What are the stipulations?

Alimony is only available within a dissolved union characterized by a significant income discrepancy. The website of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler cites that, in many cases, one spouse is the main “breadwinner” while the other is highly dependent on his or her earnings. The purpose of alimony is to support the less financially secure spouse in the aftermath of the divorce. More often than not, such spousal financial support is meant to be a temporary source of funds until the former spouse can either re-enter the workforce or adapt to their new income level. Because child support is separate from alimony, the cost of raising a child does not factor into the case for spousal support.

There are five big factors in the determination of alimony:

  • Health. If the supported spouse has certain health issues that prevent them from working full-time and supporting themselves, the court may decide in their favor.
  • Current income of both parties. Again, depending on the discrepancy between the earnings of each party, the lower earning spouse can request alimony.
  • Earning capacity. Alimony can also depend on the ability of a spouse to secure a job to support themselves. If they have few marketable skills within the current job market or do not speak the language adequately, they might receive temporary alimony while they acquire necessary skills.
  • Ability of supporting party. The ability of the supporting party to support their former spouse is also taken into account in determining the amount of alimony to be awarded or whether it will be awarded at all.
  • Length of the marriage. The court typically only awards alimony to ex-spouses whose union lasted for a substantial period of time (generally five years or more, but it depends on the judge).
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