5 Factors Arkansas Courts Consider When Determining Alimony Payments

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 typically awarded to the spouse who stayed home and now will most likely need to find their own stream of income. Or maybe one spouse supported the family while the other went to school to increase their earning capacity. In that case, alimony might be awarded to the spouse who put their own development on hold while the other studied. Since Arkansas courts view alimony as rehabilitative, the alimony would generally be awarded on a temporary basis in both of these cases.    

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 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

According to the Arkansas Supreme Court, a dependent spouse who also has custody of the couple’s child or children can appropriately be awarded 20% of the other spouse’s net take home pay. This is beyond regular child support payments and would be on a temporary basis. This is a general guideline and by no means a hard and fast rule, as courts determine what is suitable on a case by case basis.

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) 330-9952.

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