If you’re contemplating divorce, alimony might be on your list of things to find out about. A lot of people come into my office wondering if they are entitled to it, if they’ll have to pay for it, and how long it lasts.
In Arkansas, the primary factor in deciding whether to award alimony is one spouse’s need for support and the other spouse’s ability to pay. The purpose is to balance out the income and standard of living between the parties. There are 12 secondary factors as well, which could influence your case. Those factors are:
- The financial circumstances of both parties;
- The couple’s past standard of living;
- The value of jointly owned property;
- The amount and nature of the parties’ income, both current and anticipated;
- The extent and nature of the resources and assets of each of the parties;
- The amount of income of each that is spendable;
- The earning ability and capacity of each party;
- The property awarded or given to one of the parties, either by the court or the other party;
- The disposition made of the homestead or jointly owned property;
- The condition of health and medical needs of both husband and wife;
- The duration of the marriage; and
- The amount of child support.
The trend is towards rehabilitative alimony, to help the spouse in need to get back on their feet. To that end, the alimony is usually term limited. It could last one, two, three or five years. In more rare cases, where the spouse in need is not capable of earning income, permanent alimony may be awarded. But it is typically reserved for longer marriages and instances where the spouse is elderly or disabled.
The amount of alimony is variable, and may even be set to decrease over time. A good starting point is 20% of the payor spouse’s income, but this amount can vary widely. Lastly, alimony typically terminates upon the death of the payor spouse or the remarriage of the payee spouse.
Each divorce, and each case for alimony, is very different. If you have questions about your particular case, contact Leslie and schedule a free consultation. I look forward to speaking with you!