What Is Considered?

Criteria At Time Of Final Divorce

                                     Determining Entitlement And Amount                                 

The second “phase” of alimony relates to the period of time after the divorce has been finalized.  The central concerns at the final divorce are (1) whether alimony should be paid, (2) how much alimony should be paid and (3) for how long alimony should be paid.

The Specific Factors to Be Considered

The specific factors that a court must take into account in deciding whether, how much and for how long alimony is appropriate in each situation varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but a pretty good list of those which are typical is the following:

a.        The ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly selfsupporting;

b.        The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or

           training to enable that party to find suitable employment;

c.        The standard of living that the parties estab­lished during their marriage;

d.        The duration of the marriage;

e.        The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of

           the family;

f.         The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;

g.        The age of each party;

h.        The physical and mental condition of each party;

i.         The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party's needs

           while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;

j.         Any agreement between the parties.

k.        The financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:

1.        All income and assets, including property that does not produce income;

m.       Any monetary award which is made;

n.        The nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party;

o.        The right of each party to receive retirement benefits.

How Do I Decide?

The search for an appropriate answer to the weight to be given to the combination of these factors begins with some assumptions about the role and purpose of alimony. Differences about this topic are likely to create disagreements all along the line. How long should alimony go on? What is a “fair” amount? How much should “fault” matter? If the “law”doesn’t tell me what to do, and if “the law” doesn’t give me the answers, how do I decide without having an idea about what I am trying to accomplish? What is the purpose of alimony?  Seems simple enough. It’s not.


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