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What Family Courts Consider In Ordering Spousal Support

| Sep 30, 2018 | Spousal Support

Ever wondered how a court determines how much alimony should be awarded to a spouse after divorce?  Here’s some information in response to that question.

Ability of the spouse to earn is considered by courts while determining alimony

The court takes into account the earning ability of both the spouses while ascertaining whether alimony should be awarded or not. Thus, a court not only considers how much a spouse is actually earning but also weighs the spouse’s potential for earning.

Will a spouse be able to pay alimony?

This is a major consideration for the court in order to settle the subject of alimony. A court looks at the gross income of the spouse and decreases the same by deducting all the compulsory deductions to arrive at his or her net earnings. Compulsory deductions include expenses incurred towards health care, social security, and income tax payment.

Alimony can be calculated based on the standard of living

Whenever a court determines alimony, it frequently considers the kind of living standard enjoyed by the couple while they were married and attempts to keep the same standard intact for both the parties as much as possible. However, trying to ensure that the ex-spouses maintain the same standard of living is less of a guarantee and more of a goal while settling the issues related to alimony.

For example, when only one of the spouses earned money during their marriage, it will be a tough ask to expect that the person concerned can maintain the same standard of living for both the spouses even after the divorce. The court awards reasonable alimony to that spouse who did not go out of home to earn during the marriage. However, the same spouse will be also expected to fetch a job for maintaining the same standard of living after the divorce.

Relationship between alimony and a spouse’s ability to self-support

Irrespective of a spouse’s ability to possess marketable job skills and a capability to move outside the home and start working, the courts take into account certain other factors while awarding alimony. If a spouse has custody over preschooler kids and cannot access a daycare facility, it would not be possible for that spouse to go out and start working. There is a difference between being self-supporting and a person’s ability to self-support. In such scenarios, if a spouse refuses to work even while they possess marketable skills, the court may award the alimony but restrict the amount and the duration for which the alimony will be paid for refusing to work.

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