What Is It?
The wife completed three years of college before she got married and had children. Throughout the marriage, she has primarily been a homemaker. The family has moved to three different cities because of the husband's career. The wife has now decided to go back to school to finish college and get a master's degree which will take a total of 3 years, but at the end of 3 years she will have an estimated income of $35,000. She currently works part time doing scheduling at a doctor's office. Her take home pay is $750.00 per month. She will continue to work while she goes to school.
The wife and children have monthly expenses of $2,700, which the Court finds to be reasonable and not excessive. This includes school expenses. Husband has monthly expenses of $2000, which the Court finds to be reasonable and not excessive. In this scenario, child support according to the guidelines will be $1,266.00 for the two children.
In determining alimony, the Court will look at the income and expenses of both parties. In this situation:
Husband Wife Net Monthly Income $4,000 $ 750 Child Support -$1,266 +$1,266 ------ ------ $2,734 $2,016 Monthly Expenses -$2,000 -$2,700 ------ ------ $ 734 ($ 684)
In the above example, the wife needs approximately $700 per month to meet her expenses and the husband has an excess of approximately $700 per month over his expenses and his child support obligation. In this situation, it would appear fair that alimony of $700.00 per month be paid, as this is what the wife needs and this is what the husband has the ability to pay.
Of course, this example has been an easy one and we were able to make up the figures so that the wife's need corresponded exactly to Husband's ability to pay. In real life, the numbers usually aren't that neat and tidy.
How Long Will Alimony Last?
The example above reflects the most common type of alimony that is awarded, namely "rehabilitative alimony" which is ordered to help the spouse who has not been working full time to re-educate or re-train themselves to get back in the job market.
In this day and age, however, large alimony awards are usually not made unless you have a situation where it has been a long marriage (generally at least over 10 years) and one party makes substantially more income than the other. If you have a situation where the incomes of the parties are not that different, alimony is typically not awarded.
Termination of Alimony
If alimony is not awarded in the original Divorce Decree, neither party may ever come back to request alimony. This is a very important law to remember, and some people will have a Decree ordering alimony of $1 per year so that if something happens in the future (for example, disability, etc.) they can come back into Court to request alimony.
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