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It is not uncommon when a family is going through a divorce that money and affordability of the current debts can become an issue. Alimony was created to address the needs of the homemaker versus that of the breadwinner. While there are still families with a homemaker and a breadwinner, more families have both parties work, with one party earning significantly more than the other party. In these times it is not just the Husband providing alimony to the Wife, it can be the Wife providing alimony to the Husband.

When looking at awarding alimony the courts have a two-part test. First, the person asking for alimony has to demonstrate a NEED for alimony and the has to show that the other party has the ABILITY to pay alimony.

When the court answers this question, they look at 10 factors, listed below:

(1) The standard of living established during the marriage.

(2) The duration of the marriage.

(3) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.

(4) The financial resources of each party, including the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.

(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.

(6) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.

(7) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common.

(8) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment.

(9) All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

(10) Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties. This is the catch all, which allows to look at other factors that it may give it relevant information as to awarding alimony.


There are more than one type of alimony, which also depends on the length of your marriage. Below are the presumptions of the type/length of marriage the parties have.

Types/Length of Marriages:

Short Term Marriage – a marriage lasting less than seven (7) years.

Moderate Term Marriage – a marriage lasting more than seven years but less than seventeen (17) years

Long Term Marriage – a marriage lasting more than seventeen (17) years

(1) Bridge-The-Gap Alimony is intended to allow a party to make a transition from being married to being single.

(2) Rehabilitative Alimony may be awarded to assist a party in establishing the capacity for self-support through either the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials; or the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.

(3) Durational Alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time usually for a marriage of short or moderate duration.

(4) Permanent Alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.

(5) Lump Sum Alimony may be awarded when special circumstance arise

Modification of Alimony

As long as alimony was awarded in the original Final Judgment (divorce decree) for Dissolution of Marriage, the law states that most types of alimony may be modified or terminated when there has been an unexpected, involuntary, and substantial change in circumstances that affects the former spouse's ability to pay, or the other spouse' need for alimony.

It is recommended to seek the advise of an attorney regarding all aspects of alimony, negotiating or renegotiating terms of alimony, or establishing your need for alimony, or the defense to show that you are unable to pay. A claim for alimony can be lost forever it a party does not know to petition the court for it.

At Jarbath Pena Law Group, our attorneys have experience in all aspects of alimony. Feel free to contact the office to schedule your consultation today.

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