How Is Alimony Calculated
Each state has its own alimony laws, so there is no standard calculation that can answer, How much is alimony? Some couples may come to an agreement on alimony, but if they cannot, a judge will determine the alimony amount that is awarded.
A judge will calculate alimony based upon each spouses current income, the paying spouses ability to pay, and the receiving spouses need.
For instance, the judge will assess the difference in income between the two spouses and consider the future spouses earning potential.
Another consideration when calculating alimony is the length of the marriage, with longer marriages being more likely to result in one party paying alimony to the other.
A judge is also likely to consider each couples expenses, any child support awarded to the receiving spouse, and parenting arrangements when calculating alimony.
Keep in mind that the difference between alimony and child support is that child support is meant to meet childrens basic needs, whereas alimony is intended to benefit the former spouse who has a lower income.
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Know That There Are Three Types Of Alimony In Pennsylvania: Spousal Support Alimony Pendente Lite And Alimony
The first thing you need to know about how alimony is calculated in Pennsylvania is that theres really three types of alimony in Pennsylvania, and they are all kind of the same thing. Theres spousal support, alimony pendente lite, and alimony, and like I said they are all kind of the same thing and it really has mostly to do with when youre paying or when youre receiving the alimony. Spousal support is alimony thats paid pre-divorce. Maybe you and your spouse separated, maybe you have moved into different homes, but nobody has filed for divorce yet but one of you is seeking spousal support. Thats what its going to be called during that time period, spousal support. During the pendency of divorce, once someones filed a divorce complaint then its called alimony pendente lite and those two are calculated exactly same and its pursuant to a mathematical formula. Alimony, thats going to be support paid to a spouse or ex-spouse post-divorce, and thats calculated a little bit differently. Thats calculated pursuant to a list of factors, and Ill get to them later.
Which States Do Not Have Alimony
All states will consider granting spousal support to a spouse. However, it may be easier to get alimony in certain states over others. For example, many states have eliminated or drastically reduced when they award temporary or permanent alimony. However, some states still award this type of alimony, including:
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Be Willing To Negotiate
Perhaps a monthly alimony payment is not within your budget, but you may be able to give up assets elsewhere to reduce or eliminate the need for alimony.
For instance, you may agree to give your spouse a greater share of retirement account assets or allow them to remain in the marital home while you seek a residence elsewhere.
Negotiation can allow you and your spouse to arrive at an agreement that does not require alimony payments.
How Long Do You Have To Be Married To Get Alimony
There is no exact answer for how long a couple has to be married for one spouse to have to pay alimony to the other.
In many cases, shorter marriages are less likely to result in alimony payments, whereas longer marriages in which one spouse made significantly less money and/or stayed home to raise children will likely require one spouse to pay alimony to the other.
The purpose of alimony is for the lower-earning spouse to be able to maintain the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. In most states, longer marriages are associated with higher alimony payments and a longer duration of payments.
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How Long Will My Spousal Maintenance Payments Last
In Illinois, the length of spousal support or maintenance payments will be largely dependent on the length of the marriage. The length of payments will be a percentage of the years of marriage, and the percentage increases with the length of the marriage, as shown below.
- Married For 20 years or more: Courts can choose to order permanent spousal maintenance or maintenance for a length equal to the length of the marriage.
This means that if alimony is ordered following a 10-year marriage, the payments will last for 4.4 years.
Remember that these are only the basics of how spousal support is calculated, and other factors can influence the amounts. For a more detailed review of your particular circumstances, please contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. Call now to get help with your divorce and alimony questions.
Determining Alimony In A Divorce Case
No two divorces are alike and, therefore, neither is the amount of alimony awarded. To determine alimony, a judge will look at several factors.
Below are some of the factors a judge will examine:
- The amount each party may reasonably earn every month.
- The reasonable expenses each party will incur.
- If alimony can make it possible for the receiving party to maintain a lifestyle that is close to what the couple had during the marriage.
- The length of the marriage.
- The age and health of each spouse.
- The earning capacity of each spouse.
- The financial situation of each spouse.
- The economic and non-economic contributions each spouse made the marriage.
- Any economic opportunities lost due to the marriage.
- Any other factor a judge deems pertinent to determining if and how much alimony should be awarded.
Additionally, a judge will also determine how long alimony should last. The length of time alimony lasts is not the same in every case. That said, if your financial circumstances change or your former spouses situation changes, you may be able to petition the court for a modification of your alimony payments to accommodate your ever-evolving life. However, you will need an experienced family law attorney to advocate on your behalf.
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Can A Working Wife Get Alimony
Every situation is different, but if you work and your income is significantly lower than your spouses, and you demonstrate financial need, you may be able to get alimony, at least for a period of time.
You may be subject to a vocational evaluation to determine if your future earning potential can increase.
If your income is currently low enough that you qualify for alimony, you may receive it for a short period until you are able to secure higher-paying employment.
How Does Alimony Affect Taxes
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed how alimony affects taxes for divorces occurring on Jan 1. 2019 and thereafter. Previously, the person making alimony payments could deduct these payments. The person receiving alimony payments would have to include these amounts as taxable income. Now, neither spouse counts the payments, so there is no effect on taxes, like with child support payments.
However, divorces that were entered into via divorce or separation orders or agreements Dec. 31, 2018 or sooner and have not been modified to reflect this change, the old system will continue to be used.
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What Factors Does The Judge Consider
Judges consider many different aspects to determine first whether spousal support should be awarded, and if so, the amount of support and how long it should be paid. They may look at the amount calculated under the states guidelines. They will also look at need, ability to pay, length of marriage, standard of living, ages and health of both parties, number of minor children, educational level, and child support.
Lets take a look at some of these factors.
Determine How Long Alimony Will Last In Pennsylvania
The final question with regard to alimony in Pennsylvania is how long are you going to have to pay it? or how long are you going to be receiving it? Thats a big question that most people want to know. There is no easy answer to that question. It depends really on Id say the major factor is how has the marriage been? If its a really short marriage youre not going to get it for very long. If its been a really long marriage, if youve been married for 30 years, and youre both in retirement, it may be indefinite. You may have to pay or you may get it for the rest of your life. The tougher questions are those in-between marriages you know, 10, 15, 20 years.
While theres no easy answer, a good rule of thumb is 1 year of alimony for every 3 years of marriage. If youve been married for 15 years, a good rule of thumb to think is about probably 5 years of alimony. Now that will change depending on different factors- if someone is really close to retirement, and 5 years only gets them to 64, the court might give them a couple of extra years to get them to 67. If in equitable distribution the assets were distributed unevenly, say 60/40, then the court could potentially shorten the length of alimony. But if youre looking for a quick and dirty answer for how long you have to pay it, think about one year of alimony for every 3 years of marriage.
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How Long Does Alimony Last
By its very nature, temporary alimony lasts only until the divorce is final. Some states also have absolute limits on particular types of spousal support, such as a two-year limit on “bridge-the-gap” alimony in Florida. And all alimony ends when the supported spouse remarries .
Otherwise, states have different rules for determining how long support payments will last. Often, judges will base that decision on the same considerations as when they set the amount of maintenance. Other times, state laws will provide separate rules for the duration of alimony. For example:
- In California, spouses are expected to become self-supporting in a “reasonable” amount of time. When the marriage has lasted for less than 10 years, that generally means half the length of the marriage.
- In Kansas, alimony may not last for more than 121 months, with rare exceptions.
Do You Have To Pay Alimony If Your Spouse Cheats
Some states have laws that disqualify a partner from receiving alimony if they have an affair, but you will have to be able to provide evidence of the affair in court.
In addition, some states may require proof that marital assets were used to support the affair in order to prevent a spouse from receiving alimony is a term that comes up often in divorce proceedings, but some people may wonder, What is alimony?
Sometimes referred to as spousal support, alimony is an important factor to consider when thinking about divorce.
Here, learn all about divorce alimony, including what is alimony based on, who gets alimony, and alimony requirements.
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What Is Alimony Income And How Is Alimony Taxed
Alimony income is court-ordered financial support from the ex-spouse. How it is taxed depends on when the divorce agreement was executed. If it happened before December 31, 2018, the ex-spouse receiving alimony payments has to report it as income. The ex-spouse paying the alimony could declare it as a deductible expense.
After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the ex-spouse paying the alimony couldnt declare it as deductible, and the receiving ex-spouse didnt owe any federal tax on this payment.
What Judges Consider When Setting Alimony
In the vast majority of states, the laws require judges to consider certain factors when deciding how much alimony to award in a divorce. They usually must explain their reasons in their orders. Beyond that, however, judges are mostly free to decide what’s appropriate in any particular case.
The specific factors that judges must consider vary from state to state, but they typically include:
- both spouses’ needs
- each spouse’s ability to earn and support themselves, based on their education, employment history, age, health, and other factors
- both spouses’ other financial resources, including separate property, assets they did or will receive as part of the property division in their divorce, expected future assets, and debts
- whether the supported spouse can’t work outside the home because of the needs of a child or children living with that spouse
- each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including through childcare, homemaking, and efforts to further the other spouse’s education, career, and future earning capacity
- whether the supported spouse was out of the workforce or passed up career opportunities in order to care for the couple’s children, their home, or both
- the tax consequences of alimony payments, under both federal law and state law
- the length of the marriage , and
- any history of domestic violence.
In a few states, judges will also consider a spouse’s adultery or other misconduct when making alimony decisions.
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What Factors Are Considered For Alimony
When it comes to alimony, there are many factors to consider, such as how long the couple was married. These factors can include, along with others, the spouses:
- Ability to obtain employment
- Liabilities and needs
Additionally, the court takes into account the factors that add to a fault-divorce such as cruelty, felony conviction, or domestic abuse.
Grounds For Deviation May Include
Tax considerations that apply to both of the spouses advanced age uncommon health circumstances or chronic illness.
Any costs related to life and/or health insurance for the recipient spouse that is paid for by the spouse responsible for paying the alimony.
Interest, dividends, annuities, capital gains, any other unearned income and investment income that was not allocated when the couple divorced.
The court may decide to include a marital separation that lasted a significant amount of time or a premarital cohabitation in which an economic partnership was recognized when it determines how long the couple was married.
The inability for a spouse to provide for his or her own support due to deficiency of property, employment opportunity or maintenance. A spouse who is incapable of providing for himself or herself because of the mental or physical abuse caused by the payor.
Any other factors based upon written findings that the court considers material and relevant.
When the court determines the parties incomes for alimony, the court can choose to attribute income to a spouse who is underemployed or unemployed.
At Infinity Law Group, we know that the laws related to divorce, alimony and child support can be confusing. Our group of dedicated attorneys has the knowledge and experience necessary to help you through this difficult time. Please contact us today to discuss your situation.
Also, check out our Massachusetts Child Support Calculator.
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Enforcement Of Support Orders
Alimony awards may be hard to estimate but gauging whether the payer spouse will comply with a support order is even harder to predict. Alimony enforcement is not like child support enforcement, which has the “teeth” of wage garnishment, liens, and even arrest.
Because alimony can be awarded with a court order, the mechanisms available for enforcing any court order are available to a former spouse who’s owed alimony. The alimony recipient can return to court in a contempt proceeding to force payment.
Alimony To Pay Or Not To Pay
Next to child custody, alimony is the most hotly contested issue if you are divorcing in Utah. Why? Because there is no formula or calculator to determine the amount of alimony. Instead, alimony is based on multiple factors, which can be highly subjective. In Utah, the primary purposes of alimony are to get the parties as close as possible to the same standard of living that existed during the marriage to equalize the standards of living of each party and to prevent the recipient spouse from becoming a public charge. Alimony is not fashioned to provide for only the basic needs of the recipient spouse but should consider the parties standard of living enjoyed during the marriage as closely as possible. While this calculation may seem relatively easy, there is broad discretion when figuring out a recipient spouses needs and how long alimony should be paid.
Calculating the Needs of the Recipient Spouse and Payor Spouses Ability to Pay
Depending upon the complexity of your situation, you might want to consider hiring a forensic accountant or certified divorce financial advisor to help review your financial records and create your budget. Accurately creating your budget can feel overwhelming but it is one of the most important tasks to complete in your divorce.
How Long Should Alimony Be Awarded
Determining alimony is a complicated issue. If you have more questions, feel free to contact Clyde Snow family law practitioners at 322-2516.
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Do I Have To Pay Child Support If I Pay Alimony
Child support and alimony are determined separatelyso yes, child support may still be required for parties ordered to pay alimony. Alimony is for one ex-spouses general living expenses, and while this may be influenced by the presence of minor or dependent children, children are not the main factor.
Conversely, child support is intended for a separate and more specific set of costs related only to raising children. It may be granted automatically by a judge regardless of any request by one party for alimony.
What Is The Process For Getting Alimony
For alimony to be ordered, one or both spouses must request it from the court. Usually, this is indicated in the initial filing document for divorce, such as a petition for divorce or petition for dissolution form. Alimony can be agreed upon in a settlement or through mediation or the couple can take the issue to trial where the judge will decide.
Alimony is usually decided after issues of child custody, child support and property division have been settled or determined. Temporary alimony may also be granted early in divorce proceedings to provide interim support for the non-moneyed spouse until the final divorce ruling is issued.
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