How is the Amount of Alimony Determined During a Divorce?

Going through a divorce can be incredibly complex, especially when it comes to alimony. Alimony is an important aspect of divorce because it ensures financial fairness and support for the spouse who might not be as financially stable.

In the past, alimony relied heavily on gender biases. It was viewed as a way to make the financially stronger spouse, usually the husband, support his ex-wife. However, as society has evolved, so has our use of alimony. It’s now seen as a more balanced and fair concept that focuses on the financial needs of both parties and their ability to make a living.

At the Law Offices of Rusty Williard in Brandon, MS, we know how important it is to fully understand how alimony works and how it can affect your divorce. If you are considering divorce or making a change to your alimony agreement, call our office today for friendly and professional guidance every step of the way.

From Gender Roles to Financial Fairness

The way we think about alimony has changed over the years. It used to be viewed primarily as a husband’s duty to financially support his ex-wife after a divorce. It was also considered as a punishment for unfaithful husbands and a necessity for single mothers. Both of these outdated perspectives have changed with the times, so now alimony is considered a fair negotiation between divorcing couples, particularly when one person makes significantly more money than the other.

Alimony payments also used to last indefinitely. Before two-income households became the norm, alimony was set up to financially support a woman until she could get remarried. Nowadays, payments are set with definitive timelines, and the funds are usually used for work training or education. It’s still very common for either spouse to leave the working world for years when caring for their children, but now alimony is used to help them find a rewarding career after the marriage is over.

Types of Alimony

Today, alimony basically takes two forms: lump-sum and periodic payments. Lump-sum alimony is where one ex-spouse makes a single big payment to the other. It’s simple, straightforward, and once it’s paid, all alimony obligations are complete. It’s great for couples who would rather have a clean split from each other and not be involved in each other’s finances for several more years.

The other option, periodic payments, is what you might think of as the more traditional way to handle alimony. Regular payments are made every month until the court is satisfied that the dependent spouse is capable of making a living on their own. This is a more flexible option because it allows for change. If there’s a big change in either person’s financial situation, the amount of alimony can be adjusted. Also, if the person receiving the alimony gets remarried or starts living with a new partner, alimony payments will usually end.

How is the Amount of Alimony Determined?

  • Financial Resources and Earning Capacity: Courts look at what each spouse earns now, their potential earnings in the future, and any other sources of income either person might have. This includes their current job, their current job skills, and the current market for those skills.
  • Health and Age: The physical and emotional health of both spouses can impact their ability to earn and their need for support. Age can also play a role, especially if it affects earning potential or the need for medical care.
  • Standard of Living During the Marriage: The goal is to allow the dependent spouse to maintain a lifestyle similar to what they had while married, especially if there are children involved.
  • Duration of the Marriage: Generally, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that alimony will be awarded. Especially if it was a long marriage and one spouse sacrificed a career for the sake of the family.
  • Contributions to the Marriage: This includes both financial contributions (like income) and non-financial contributions (like homemaking, raising children, and supporting the other spouse’s career). Both of these contributions are seen as equally important to maintaining a stable marriage.
  • Future Financial Opportunities: The court might consider the impact that the divorce has on each spouse’s future opportunities. If one spouse was able to attend college, but the other didn’t, the court will likely give the dependent spouse a higher alimony award for their sacrifice. After all, the paying spouse may now have a more lucrative career, and they may not have been able to without the other person’s support.
  • Living Expenses After Divorce: Courts look at how the divorce affects each person’s day-to-day living costs. If one spouse is going to end up with a lot more bills or responsibilities that make it hard to cover basic needs, alimony might be adjusted to help even things out.
  • Taking Care of the Kids: If one parent will be looking after the children most of the time, it will affect the alimony amount. The court understands that being the main caregiver can make it tough to work full-time. They also consider the extra costs that childcare involves, which alimony can help balance out.

How The Law Offices of Rusty Williard Can Help

Alimony is a complex and crucial part of the divorce process. It’s designed to ensure fairness and financial stability for both parties involved. It’s a process that aims to balance the scales by compensating for both financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage.

At The Law Offices of Rusty Williard, we provide expert advice and compassionate support every step of the way. We’re committed to achieving a fair financial settlement for our clients by respecting the contributions of both parties and securing a better financial future. If you’re dealing with alimony decisions or any other divorce-related concerns, call us today at (601) 824-9797. Our experienced team is ready to protect your rights and help you navigate your divorce with confidence and security.