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How is Alimony Calculated?

How is Alimony Calculated? 

The court will determine how much alimony will be paid per month by weighing out the "needs" of the receiving party with the "ability to pay" of the paying party. While this may seem vague in theory, in practice the court will consider the evidence and testimony of both parties while weighing out the 8 factors for determining alimony. By matching up the 8 factors below with the unique individual facts of your case, the court will come to a determination on the amount of alimony.

Factors for Calculating Alimony 

When determining the amount of alimony that should be paid (if any), the court will consider the following 8 factors. If you would like to read more about the factors in detail, click here.

Standard of living

Standard of Living 

Duration of the marriage

Duration of the Marriage 

Physical, mental and emotion condition

Physical & Emotional Condition of the Parties 

The financial resources of each party.

Financial Resources of Each Party 

Time needed to find a job

Time Needed to Obtain Employment 

Contributing to the marriage as a stay at home mom.

Contribution to the Marriage 

financial condition

Financial Condition of the Parties 

Judge considering all alimony factors

All Other Relevant Factors

Conduct of the Parties 

In addition to the eight factors, the court will also consider the parties' "conduct" toward each other. Conduct goes beyond poor treatment of each other, conduct typically comes into play in the context of adultery and cheating. In certain circumstances, adultery can lead to a total bar of alimony. Proving adultery for the purposes of eliminating alimony payments can be difficult.

Additional Resources 

If alimony could be an issue in your divorce, a full understanding of the 8 alimony factors and how conduct like "adultery" can affect potential alimony payments is very important. Please feel free to read more on these topics. 

How Does Alimony Affect Taxes? 

Tax planning for alimony

Alimony used to be treated as taxable income to the recipient and a deduction to the paying party. Prior to 2017, the paying party got a tax break when paying alimony, but receiving party would have to be careful to consider the additional tax liability with collecting alimony. The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removed those tax implications.

Things to Consider Before Asking for Alimony 

There are some very important considerations to mull over before deciding whether or not you should ask for alimony. Alimony is not always in your best interest, even if you are receiving it. Below are a few items you should consider before asking for alimony.

Read about these considerations in more detail here.

  • How much do you need to live on per month?
  • Are you planning on staying single and living alone for the time being?
  • How stable is your job and financial situation?
Vs.
  • How much can your ex realistically afford to pay?
  • Are you planning on getting remarried and moving in with someone soon?
  • How stable is your ex's job and financial situation? 
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