Alimony Legal Information


Post-separation support or alimony may be available to a dependent spouse. A dependent spouse is a husband or wife who actually substantially depended on the other spouse for maintenance or one who is substantially in need of maintenance and support from the other spouse. In determining a dependent spouse's need, the court considers the parties' accustomed standard of living prior to separation.

The purpose of post-separation support is to enable the dependent spouse to meet his or her reasonable needs on a temporary basis. The court may order post-separation support based only upon the financial affidavits of the parties, without hearing live testimony.

In determining the amount of alimony, on the other hand, the court must consider the circumstances of the parties, having due regard to the estates, earnings, earning capacity, condition, accustomed standard of living of the parties, and other facts of the particular case.

The court may also consider

(1) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;

(2) The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the spouses;

(3) The duration of the marriage;

(4) The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;

(5) The relative needs of the spouses;

(6) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;

(7) The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;

(8) The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;

(9) The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, Social Security, or others;

(10) The marital misconduct of either of the spouses through the date of separation;

(11) The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other spouse;

(12) The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;

(13) The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;

(14) The federal, state and local tax ramifications of the alimony award; and

(15) Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances that the court finds to be just and proper.

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