When a married couple decided to get divorced, the judge will consider, and most often award spousal support otherwise known as “alimony,” to one of them. This will be decided either before the trial, where the two parties can make an agreement, or after a trial is conducted before a judge.

The purpose of awarding alimony is to mitigate any unfair, economic advantage that one spouse might have as a result of a divorce. The “disadvantaged” party will receive a continuing income from the other.

An example where one party may receive alimony is when a spouse who puts his or her career on hold in order to start a family, which include sacrificing time that could have been used to develop career/job skills. Now, not only are they looking for work with no relevant experience, they don’t have the financial stability to withstand the interim, jobless period.

The court also tends to recognize the notion of “maintaining and continuing a standard of living.” In other words, if the spouse has been living a certain type of life for a significant amount of time on their spouse’s work, it can be a compelling enough argument for the court to award alimony.

When deciding on the amount of alimony, the court will look to The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act in order to reach a fair decision for both parties. The length of the marriage and the age/emotional state of the spouses, along with financial conditions, are the main factors in amount, but also in determining the length of time.

In addition, the amount of time necessary for the receiving spouse to receive the necessary education or experience to restart their career is taken into consideration.  Last, but certainly not forgotten, is the ability of the paying spouse to actually make these payments and still have the ability to support themselves.