How Can Alimony Affect My Standard of Living After Divorce?

How Can Alimony Affect My Standard of Living After Divorce?

Posted By R. Gregory Colvin LLC || 12-Jun-2019

A divorcing couple must consider many factors when ending a marriage. One important factor is the standard of living each spouse has grown accustomed to during the marriage. Standard of living includes the amount of money a person spends each month, the type of housing they live in, and the overall lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. Generally, a judge will award alimony to the spouse who earns less money. The duration and type of alimony a judge awards will depend on circumstances unique to the couple.

The 5 types of alimony are:

  • Temporary Alimony: Awarded when one spouse requires financial support during the process of divorce. This automatically ends once the divorce is finalized.
  • Bridge-The-Gap Alimony: Begins after the divorce is finalized, but only lasts for a short time, no longer than 2 years. This is to help the recipient spouse meet short-term needs such as living expenses while waiting for their house to sell and/or looking for a new place to live.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: This is awarded with the purpose of assisting the recipient in completing an educational or training program to gain better employment. An ex-spouse who requests this type of alimony must submit a plan outlining the amount of money and time required to complete this plan.
  • Durational Alimony: This is awarded if it seems like other types of alimony are insufficient to meet an ex-spouse’s needs. The maximum term for this type of alimony is no longer than the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married for 10 years, you would not be able to seek any further alimony after 10 years.
  • Permanent Alimony: If it seems that the recipient ex-spouse’s economic needs will likely be permanent, an award may also be permanent. If a judge decides upon this type of alimony, they must state the reasons that all other forms of alimony will not work. Permanent alimony is awarded if it seems that the ex-spouse in need is not able to become self-supporting at the standard of living to which they have grown accustomed.

Deciding Factors

When a court begins making decisions pertaining to a request for alimony, it will consider a few factors to determine whether the requesting spouse needs alimony. If thereis a need for alimony, the court must also determine if the other spouse has the means or ability to pay it. A court won’t award alimony if it seems like it will be leaving the paying spouse with less money and/or a lower standard of living than the recipient.

When deciding on alimony, a judge will look at the following factors:

  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking assistance, including marital and separate property.
  • All sources of income, including investment income, available to both spouses.
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity, educational history, vocational skills, and employability.
  • Any expense or time required by the spouse seeking alimony to obtain training or education for employment.
  • The marital standard of living.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • Each spouse’s physical condition, emotional condition, and age.
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including childcare, education, and helping each other build a career.
  • Potential tax consequences of alimony.
  • The responsibilities each spouse will have for any children under the age of 18.

A judge can also take into account any instance of adultery during the marriage, if the adultery caused financial harm to the household.

The length of a marriage is an extremely important factor when dealing with alimony. For example, if the length of the marriage was 17 years or more, the judge will be more likely to award permanent alimony than if the marriage was 13 years or less.

Contact R. Gregory Colvin, LLC

If you are going through a divorce, our alimony attorney is here to help! We have over 25 years of trusted legal experience and can work with you to find which type of alimony would be most appropriate for you.

Call our firm today at (407) 603-3460 or contact us online for a case evaluation.

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