If you stopped working or put your career on the back burner during your marriage and are considering divorce, then you may be in a position to collect alimony. Broadly speaking, if one spouse supported the other during the marriage, then the courts can award alimony to the dependent spouse temporarily or indefinitely.
However, it is important to understand that courts do not award this type of support in every divorce. Below are some of the factors the courts will consider first when assessing moves for alimony
- Marital misconduct (If the dependent spouse committed adultery, the courts will not award alimony)
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- Ages of each spouse
- Mental and physical health of each person
- Duration of the marriage
- Marital contributions of each person, financial and otherwise
- Financial support outside of income
- Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
- The extent of training and education the financially disadvantaged spouse would need to become financially independent
- Separate property
These factors can impact the amount and duration of an alimony award, but the biggest factor in an alimony case is the income and earning capacity of each party at the time that they separate.
In general, a dependent spouse is more likely to receive alimony if he or she stopped working to care for the home or kids and would not be able to reenter the workforce easily after divorce. And — again, speaking generally — the longer it would take a person to regain financial stability, the longer the award for alimony could be in place. Marital misconduct on the part of either spouse can also affect the amount and duration of an alimony award.