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The Dating Dilema: Divorced Women and Their Transitional Sex Partners.



Recent Trends in Alimony

Barry J. Roche

The simple answer to this commonly asked question is, "There isn't any set formula". The actual amount of alimony (or "spouse maintenance as it is called in some countries) is determined by a range of factors rather than by any specific formula. Each case depends on its own merits and the legislation in your State or country.

The old days where a jilted wife could be awarded alimony or spousal support for as long as she lived or until she remarried and at a level befitting the manner to which she had become accustomed, are long gone. These days, courts only tend to award alimony in a minority of cases and then only for a relatively short period of time based on the estimated length of time that will be required for the spouse to secure gainful employment and financial self-sufficiency.

It is also important to realize that the right to alimony is NOT gender specific although, from a practical point of view, it is still the wife who is more likely to be the economically dependent spouse.

So what are the sorts of factors that a court will look at in order to determine the amount of alimony payable, if any? Some of the most important factors are: -

1. The financial needs of the person seeking alimony.
2. The other spouse's financial capacity to pay alimony.
3. The length of the marriage.
4. The parties' standard of living age during the marriage.
5. The financial capacity of the dependent spouse to support her/himself.
6. The age and state of health of the parties.
7. The ability of the dependent souse to become financially self-sufficient.
8. The likely time frame required for: -

(i) Re-education and training necessary to find suitable employment; and
(ii)The cost of such education and/or training.

In considering the above, the court tends to look at the length of the marriage as a starting point. If the applicant has been married for a long time (e.g. 15 - 20 years), the court will be far more sympathetic than in the case of a very brief marriage. The court’s attitude towards a request for alimony will be very different if the parties have been married for twenty years rather than say one or two years. It's also hard to argue that ANY standard of living has really been established during a marriage of short duration.

In considering the employment or employability status of the spouse seeking alimony, the court will have some regard for how long the Applicant has been out of the paid workforce and the reasons for this. If, for example, she/he has been the primary caregiver to the children or has otherwise been caring for the home and family on a fulltime basis, then understandably, it may take some time, education and re-training before this person is able to successfully re-enter the workforce and become self sufficient. It may be even more difficult if this person has a limited work history and/or poor level of education.

These days it is rare for a court to award indefinite or permanent alimony. However, this may be awarded IF there is no real prospect of the dependent spouse ever being able to support herself/himself, either for reasons of infirmity (through age or physical and/or mental disability). Another situation where permanent or indefinite spousal support might be granted is where the Applicant has done all she/he can do to become financially independent but there remains an "unconscionable disparity" between the respective parties' standard of living.

Unlike Child Support where specific formula is set out in legislation in the various States and countries, this is generally not the case when it comes to either with alimony or property settlement. The right to (an amount of) Alimony is based on factors that a divorce court judge will weigh up, having regard for the circumstances of your particular case. It is simply too difficult for legislators to come up with a set Alimony Formula that will produce a just and fair result. It remains a matter for the court's discretion and the general principles and factors to which I have referred.

© Barry J. Roche


As Featured On Ezine Articles

Barry Roche is the founder of the Womens Divorce Self-Help Club and the author of numerous divorce articles and ebooks including, “How To Win When Facing Divorce”. He is a former Divorce Lawyer who wrote this book specifically to help women not just survive divorce, but come out not feeling a victim. The book is available for purchase at http://www.divorceandwomen.com/help.html.

(This article may be reproduced provided it is unedited, the copyright is acknowledged and the information in the resource box and links are published with it.)


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What you need to know about is ALIMONY.

DISCLAIMER: - The legal information on this website is not a substitute for legal advice. Each case depends on its own merits and you should consult an attorney for specific legal advice in relation to your particular case.