What Factors Determine Alimony Payments?

Alimony is a legal term used by the court system to refer to payments that one spouse makes to another after a divorce. It is separate from child support payments and refers to funds that the former spouse can use for any type of living expenses. You might hear some horror stories from men and women who the court demanded pay their former spouses thousands of dollars a month. While a Tampa divorce lawyer can help you decide whether the court will require that you make alimony payments, you’ll also want to look at what factors determine the size of those payments.

Support Ability

One factor the court will use is the ability that your former spouse has to support himself or herself. A good example is a stay at home parent. If your former spouse quit working to raise your children full-time, the court may determine that you need to pay more in alimony and that you should make payments for longer. Your former spouse will have a harder time finding work because that individual spent so much time outside of the workforce. The ability of an individual to support himself or herself also depends on skills, education level and age.

Standard of Living

When you marry another person, you establish a standard of living together. This refers to your overall quality of life. It can include any clubs you joined together, trips you took, type of house you purchased and even the amount that you spent in a month on groceries and clothing. The court will take steps to ensure that you pay your former spouse enough that the person can continue meeting the same standard of living established during your marriage. This may result in you paying more than you expected.

Length of Marriage

Another factor that the court will use when setting up alimony is how long the marriage lasted. Though you might hear about celebrities divorcing and paying millions in alimony after just a few short months, this rarely happens. The court typically assigns higher payments when divorcing couples were married for a longer period of time. If you divorce after less than a year of marriage, the court may limit your alimony payments to the same amount of time as your marriage. Speaking to a lawyer will help you learn more about any other costs you face during your divorce.