In no-fault states, such as Florida, the court may order alimony to equalize the income of both parties. In states that recognize fault as a reason for divorce, however, alimony may be a "punishment" for the fault, such as cheating, though it may also equalize incomes of the divorcing parties. Either the husband or the wife may receive alimony depending on which party is injured or has the lower income.
Determination of Alimony Award
The court determines the award of the alimony and takes into consideration several things. This includes the ability of the paying spouse to pay, the need of the receiving spouse and the length of the marriage. In the case of a state that recognizes fault, what the fault is and how much the injured spouse is suffering because of the fault is also considered by the court.
Any income that comes into the household is fair game for alimony, except child support. Child support payments are not income to the receiving spouse, as that money is solely for the children. Social security checks, disability checks, alimony from another case, retirement income, pensions, or regular income from a job or self-employment are available for alimony purposes in most states.
If your spouse is disabled with little income and you are currently working, you typically won't receive alimony, although it's ultimately up to the court. If your spouse has other income besides disability, such as a pension or an inheritance, your spouse may have to pay alimony if you can prove a need for it. If you make more than your disabled spouse, you most likely will not receive alimony, unless you live in a fault state and your disabled spouse committed a fault that caused the break up of the marriage.
Most states do not have a formula to figure out alimony payments. The court looks at the circumstances of each case, and whether one of the spouses requested alimony. If the circumstances allow it, you may receive alimony, but it may not be permanent. You may receive a lump sum payment, temporary alimony or rehabilitative alimony, which only lasts for a short time. In no-fault states, such as Florida, the length of marriage is important in the court's decision to award alimony. If a marriage is not considered long-term, you will not receive alimony. The definition for a long-term marriage varies from state to state, and even from county to county.
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