Going through a divorce can be confusing and overwhelming. Whatever you feel about separating from your ex, the legal process can often add to the stress. The paperwork can be endless, and it’s sometimes difficult to find compromises. When you’re faced with the issue of alimony, you might wonder how it works and how a judge decides what gets paid out to a spouse and why.
What Is Alimony?
In many marriages, one person earns the majority of the household income. Alimony exists to help the person with little or no income succeed financially after the divorce. Simply put, alimony is a court-ordered payment that the higher-earning spouse must make to the other.
Questions often arise about how much support must be paid and how long it must continue. Judges consider many factors when awarding alimony to one party of the divorce, including:
- The length of the marriage. A longer relationship might be worth more in alimony if one spouse has been out of work for many years.
- The health of both parties. Ailing health can prevent one party from working to earn money or pay alimony.
- The current employment situation of both parties. If a person is unemployed, he will likely need extra support from his ex to become financially independent later.
- The future earning potential of both parties. If one of the spouses has been a homemaker during the marriage, he might not have any marketable job skills—which would make it more difficult to support himself financially.
- The spouse who has child custody. If one parent will raise the child, the alimony payment works in conjunction with child support to compensate the responsible parent.
- The standard of living during the marriage. If during the marriage both spouses were accustomed to a certain standard of living, one spouse might be expected to continue to provide finances to keep that standard for the other.
How Long Will a Person Pay Alimony?
In Rhode Island, there is no time limit on alimony payments. These payments are designed to help one spouse become financially independent—which can take a long time if that person has poor health or no marketable job skills. For this reason, judges often award ongoing alimony. However, either party may petition to change the amount of time alimony payments are made, depending on changing financial situations, learned skills, or health complications or improvements.
If you have questions about your alimony award or feel confused with the legal process, contact the experienced lawyers at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum. Fill out the contact form on our website to get started on your case today.