FORMULA IN DIVORCE:
Recent Trends in Alimony
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.
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.
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
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
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
8. The likely time frame required for: -
(i) Re-education and training necessary to find suitable
(ii)The cost of such education and/or training.
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.
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.
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.
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
Barry J. Roche
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
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you need to know about is ALIMONY.
- 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.