Alimony, also called “spousal maintenance” or “spousal support,” is the court-ordered provision that one spouse must pay the other after a divorce. In Arkansas, the amount of alimony awarded, and for how long, depends on one party’s need and the other party’s capacity to pay. The judge will also take some other factors into consideration when awarding alimony. In this blog post, we’ll be examining 5 of those factors.

1. Financial circumstances

In some marriages, one spouse has a career and earns income while the other spouse works only in a  domestic capacity. In those situations, alimony is often awarded to the spouse who stayed home and now will most likely need to find his or her own stream of income. Or maybe one spouse supported the family while the other went to school to increase his or her earning capacity. In that case, alimony might be awarded to the spouse who put his or her own development on hold while the other studied.  Alimony is generally awarded on a temporary basis in both of these cases to rehabilitate the receiving spouse or allow that spouse to gain a greater earning potential during that time. The two most critical financial circumstances are the needs of the party seeking alimony and the ability to pay the party from whom alimony is sought.

2. How long the marriage lasted

In the eyes of the judge, a 20-year marriage and a six-month marriage are quite different. The dissolution of a shorter marriage will generally result in less alimony if any, because the couple has had less time to build a shared life in which they become dependent on one another.

3. Standard of living during the marriage

Were you and your spouse living paycheck-to-paycheck during the marriage? Or did you live in luxury and take lavish vacations? A court may consider the standard of living to which the spouses became accustomed during the marriage, especially if it is difficult or impossible for one spouse to achieve without the other.

4. Child support

Do you pay or receive child support? The judge will look at your financial situation, including any amount of child support that you are paying or receiving, to determine if awarding alimony would be equitable and fair.

5. Medical needs and health condition

Is anyone in your family – you, your former spouse, or a child–facing an illness or injury? Or perhaps one spouse is too old to reasonably be expected to get a job and earn income. Arkansas courts would take these factors into consideration when calculating alimony.

Whether you need to prove that you need alimony from your ex, or you want to defend yourself from an ex seeking alimony, OMG Law Firm can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience practicing family law. We offer a free consultation for new clients, so give us a call today at (870) 330-7324.