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How Does a Judge Determine Alimony?

Oftentimes, as part of a divorce settlement, the more financially capable spouse will have to pay alimony to maintain the marital standard of living for the other spouse. Of course, the amount will vary from case to case, depending on a variety of financial factors that are unique to each case. When determining alimony, a judge will examine several factors, which we will review here.

Determining Alimony in a Divorce Case

Alimony is primarily based on how much each spouse earns. However, if a spouse intentionally chooses to work at a job that pays less than what he or she could more reasonably earn, the alimony amount will be based on a higher number. Therefore, if a spouse is trying to avoid paying alimony by opting for a job with lower income, such an act will undoubtedly backfire.

Here are some additional factors a judge will consider when determining alimony:

  • The standard of living maintained during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s assets, income, and financial obligations
  • How property is divided
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The needs of their children and if child-related responsibilities may prevent a spouse’s ability to return to work
  • If the receiving spouse left the workforce to care for the children
  • The possibility that a spouse will obtain assets in the future through an inheritance or matured stock options
  • Any other factors a judge believes is essential to make this decision

Moreover, keep in mind that it is possible to modify alimony to increase or decrease the amount, depending on how substantially either party’s financial circumstances changed. However, just as you cannot influence a judge’s decision regarding alimony by pursuing a lower-paying job, you cannot modify these payments later by voluntarily leaving your job or choosing to take a pay cut.

Reach Out to Our Knowledgeable Family Law Team for the Legal Guidance You Need

If you are getting divorced, you may either receive or pay alimony, depending on the circumstances. To ensure these payments are fair, you should hire an experienced family law attorney to represent your case. At Cynthia Tracy, Attorney at Law, P.C., our divorce team is backed by more than three decades of combined legal experience and have a deep understanding of what it takes to secure fruitful results. You can rely on us to provide the strong legal support you need to get through this.

Call our law office today at (281) 612-5443 to set up an initial case evaluation with a member of our team and learn more about what we can do for you.