Alimony is only awarded in a divorce or legal separation. Most often, alimony awards are part of a divorce decree. Whether a person will be awarded alimony or not depends on a long list of factors, but most importantly:
- The length of the marriage
- How much income each person will or should be able to earn after the divorce
- What assets each party will have after the divorce.
So, for example, if the marriage was very short, alimony is unlikely to be awarded at all. If the parties earn comparable incomes, there's not much point in awarding alimony. And, the court may award one party more of the marital estate rather than awarding alimony.
The ideal scenario to expect alimony would be a marriage where one party was a homemaker for 25 years raising children, and has little to no education or work experience, while the other party earns a substantial income. But even then, other factors could result in no award of alimony, as alimony is one of the most case-specific aspects of a divorce.
Movies and television have popularized the concept that alimony is about "the standard to which one has become accustomed to living." This is one instance where pop culture isn't entirely off-base - though the standard of living during the marriage is really related to how much alimony to award, rather than whether it's appropriate to be awarded in the first place.
Because alimony is almost entirely up to the judge, it's very important to hire counsel who's not only skilled as an attorney, but also familiar with the particular judge hearing your case. Knowing what to ask for and how to ask for it goes a long way towards a successful claim for alimony. Additionally, if you're considering an uncontested divorce, be aware that your ability to receive alimony may be permanently and irreversibly impacted by any agreement you make, whether or not you're represented by a lawyer at the time.
If you have further questions about the likelihood of an alimony in your particular circumstances, contact The Lilly Law Firm by calling (678) 807-9150, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or using the contact form here.