Six Factors That Influence How Much Alimony An Ex-Spouse Must Pay

Alimony can sometimes pose great financial hardships for an ex-spouse whose income level is significantly lower after divorcing than it was during the marriage. 

Understanding which factors a divorce court will look at in determining alimony amounts can help an ex-spouse to alleviate the financial burden of alimony payments. If you understand what factors the court will be looking at, you can develop a strategy for defending yourself against alimony rulings that are unaffordable for you.

The following are six important factors that a divorce court will look at when calculating how much alimony will be required of an ex-spouse that will be expected to provide financial support after the divorce:

Income levels of each spouse

Generally speaking, alimony payments will be larger or smaller depending on how great the disparity is between two spouses' incomes. 

If two divorcing spouses' incomes are roughly equal, it's likely that neither spouse will be required to make alimony payments. However, if one spouse was not working and was completely relying on his or her spouse financially throughout the marriage, the working spouse will typically be required to make significant alimony payments after the divorce. 

Any property or assets each spouse has

Both income and property are factored into alimony calculations. Alimony calculations attempt to reconcile any disparities between two divorcing spouses' financial statuses.

Assets such as investments and real estate property will be factored into alimony calculations. If one spouse earns less money than another but has valuable financial assets, that spouse won't necessarily be awarded alimony payments after the divorce. 

How long the couple was married

The longer a couple is married, the more difficult it is likely to be for a spouse who was functioning as a homemaker during the marriage to find work after the divorce. Therefore, a divorce court will factor the length of the marriage into alimony awards. 

Whether there are children and which parent will be supporting the children

If one ex-spouse is taking custody of children produced from the marriage, a divorce court will consider the resulting financial burden that this ex-spouse must face. As such, any alimony that an ex-spouse supporting children receives will be higher in amount, and any alimony amount that ex-spouse will be required to pay will be lower. 

How an ex-spouse contributed to the earning potential of his or her spouse during the marriage

It is not uncommon for married couples to support one another at pursuing educational endeavors. Educational achievements naturally increase an ex-spouse's earning potential. 

An ex-spouse who provided educational support for his or her spouse during the marriage can expect to enjoy special consideration when it comes to receiving alimony payments. 

Any prenuptial agreements

Of course, prenuptial agreements precede any of the above-mentioned factors. If divorcing spouses made a prenuptial agreement, alimony payments will be made according to the terms of the agreement. 

For a divorce attorney, contact a law firm such as Hackworth Law