The Definition and Factors of Alimony

When a married couple makes the decision to legally part ways, they may have to make several decisions during the divorce process. The custody of children, finances, marital assets and many more topics may have to be discussed in great length. The steps leading up to divorce finalization can be grueling and time-consuming. An attorney can offer guidance and advice as you attempt to settle the alimony conditions with your soon-to-be former spouse. They understand that you may be going through a whirlwind of painful emotions. Your family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, like from Robinson & Hadeed, will do what we can to be of support along the way. 

The Definition of Alimony

Alimony is when one spouse needs financial support from the other due to the separation. Alimony may also be called “maintenance” or “spousal support.” Alimony may be awarded to a spouse who is unable to pay rent, bills and other expenses without help from their former partner. Such financial support may be awarded to the spouse in-need throughout the divorce process, or once the divorce has been finalized. A partner that needs financial help prior to the divorce being complete, can file to the court for temporary alimony. 

Factors of Alimony

An attorney is likely to recommend that the divorcing couple tries to settle the debate over alimony through mediation first. This is where a third party that is unbiased attends a meeting with the two spouses, and helps guide the conversation to what hopefully ends with a resolution. 

If a solution is not agreed upon by both spouses, then the dispute may have to be settled in court. Perhaps the biggest factor in whether or not a spouse is awarded alimony, is how much the receiving spouse is asking for and the ability of the other spouse to make these payments. Other factors that a judge may take into consideration when establishing alimony terms are: 

  • How long the couple was married before filing for divorce (months, years or even decades?)
  • The education level of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to earn an income
  • The overall health of each spouse (whether there is an illness or disability, and the physical, mental and emotional stability of both partners)
  • The standard of living both partners were accustomed to while married

When a Spouse Remarries 

If a spouse were to remarry, this may constitute as a reason for completely eliminating or greatly reducing the amount of alimony awarded. In some states, alimony may be automatically stopped once the receiving spouse marries another person. There may be life circumstances that arise after an alimony verdict, in which a modification is necessary. 

An attorney can help you as you delegate the terms of alimony with your future ex-spouse. They understand that you may be feeling a range of very difficult feelings, on top of having to deal with a legal proceeding. Please reach out to a law firm right away so they can get started working for your behalf.