If you are getting divorced in Greenville, South Carolina, you might be wondering whether you are entitled to receive alimony. Unlike child support payments which are calculated based on a formula, alimony payments are determined by the courts on a case by case basis depending on your circumstances. The courts will look at a variety of factors when determining whether you are entitled to receive alimony. What are some factors the courts will review when determining alimony awards? Here are a few:
- Income of Each Party. If you earn significantly more than your spouse, you may be required to pay alimony when you get divorced. On the other hand, if you earn less than your spouse, you might be entitled to receive alimony. However, income isn’t the only factor that the courts consider when determining alimony awards. Income disparity in both parties is just one factor that the courts will consider.
- Length of the Marriage. How long you were married will also impact your alimony award. If you were married for a long period of time and your spouse earns significantly more than you, you might be more likely to be awarded alimony than a couple where the marriage only lasted a few months. The longer the marriage, the longer the alimony award might be or the higher the award might be if you decide on a lump sum alimony award payment. However, length of the marriage is not the only factor the courts will consider.
- Health and Age of Both Parties. Your age and health will also play a role in whether you might be entitled to receive alimony. For example, a person in poor health who relied on his or her partner to maintain a standard of living will be more likely to receive alimony than a person in good health who can support him or herself.
- Standard of Living. The courts can also look at the standard of living both parties enjoyed during the marriage. Alimony might be awarded to help you maintain a similar standard of living than you enjoyed during your marriage. The courts will review your income, your own ability to support yourself, and look at any assets you might have when determining what alimony award you might need in order to maintain a standard of living you enjoyed during the marriage.
- Contribution of Each Party to the Marriage. The role that each partner played in the marriage will also be considered. For example, if you stayed home to care for the children and gave up career advancement opportunities to raise your children, this might be considered when the court determines alimony awards. If you supported your spouse through graduate school or assisted your spouse in launching his or her business, this might also be considered when evaluating the contribution each party made to the marriage.
- Sources of Income and Assets. Both parties may be evaluated for their ability to support themselves and maintain their standard of living. If you have significant assets, for example, alimony may be reduced accordingly, because assets can sometimes be used to support a standard of living.
- The court may look at the employability of the lower-earning spouse. If you have been out of the workforce for some time, the courts may also look at your situation to determine what training or schooling you might need in order to be employable. Alimony may be awarded for the length of time you’ll need to gain skills to be self-supporting.
These are just some of the factors the courts may consider when determining alimony awards. The courts may also look at child support payments, take into account tax implications of an alimony award, and look at other factors that can impact standard of living and each spouse’s ability to support him or herself. Because there is no fixed formula for determining alimony, the kind of case each spouse makes to the court could impact the alimony award the judge determines is fair and proper. There are also two types of alimony awards available. One type is a lump sum alimony award and the other type is a periodic alimony award. A lump sum alimony award is paid in one lump sum when you get divorced, while a periodic alimony award is paid on a regular basis unless your circumstances change. If you get remarried or one partner dies, periodic alimony could end, unless there are provisions in your divorce settlement for what should happen if major life changes occur.
If you have questions about the role alimony might play in your divorce, have questions about the alimony amount you might be entitled to receive, or have questions about whether you might be required to pay alimony, consider reaching out to the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, divorce lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina. Our firm can review your situation, and fight to help you get the best possible divorce resolution. USAttorneys.com can connect you with one of the lawyers at the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC today.