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Will I receive alimony after my divorce?

Financial stability is typically one of the most common and palpable fears people have when they are divorcing. Going from a single household supported by one or two incomes to separate households being supported by that same amount can present some unavoidable anxiety.

In addition to worrying about how your marital assets will be divided in your divorce, you may also be wondering about whether or not alimony will also be ordered. Whether you hope to receive it or are worried about paying it, you should understand that spousal support is not ordered in every divorce. 

In many cases, there is no need for alimony if both spouses are equally capable of financially supporting themselves. If this is not the case, a judge can order alimony. It is important to note that a judge can deny requests for alimony for a number of reasons, including in situations where the recipient of the support is at fault for the divorce due to adultery or desertion.

As noted in this article in The Family Law Review publication, spousal support can be ordered (or approved, if agreed on through mediation or a prenuptial agreement) after a judge considers eight different factors. This includes:

  • Each spouse's individual financial situation
  • The lifestyle maintained during the marriage
  • The amount of time two people were married
  • Individual contributions made during the marriage (financial and otherwise)
  • Individual earning capacity and liabilities

Based on these and other relevant factors, alimony will be calculated and ordered. These orders can be temporary or permanent, though it should be noted that permanent alimony will end once the recipient remarries.

Alimony can be one of the more contentious aspects of a divorce because it creates a financial obligation and relationship between two people who are no longer married. Because of this as well as the legal complications that can and do arise when parties are fighting over spousal support, it can be wise to have the support and guidance of an attorney as you navigate this process. 

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