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How courts determine the length and amount of alimony

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2022 | Family Law

As married couples share their lives in Rhode Island, they make decisions based on their shared needs. This applies to many different parts of the marriage, but in particular, it applies to how much money they need to earn combined to live the lifestyle they are living. As a couple, they may not each need to earn as much individually to still meet their combined needs. Because of this only one spouse may work or one spouse may work full-time while the other works part-time.

If the couple ever goes through a divorce, they will no longer share incomes and households. This can put a spouse who has not worked as much during the marriage in a very difficult situation. In these situations, the spouse who worked may need to pay the other spouse alimony.

Factors used to determine alimony

Whether alimony is awarded to one spouse as well as the amount and duration of the spousal maintenance award depends on the analysis of a number of different factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age, work history, education, skills and how likely a spouse is to be employed after the marriage.
  • The amount of time and training that a spouse would need to gain meaningful employment.
  • The needs and liabilities of each spouse.
  • Whether one spouse is unable to work as much due to the need for them to care for the children.
  • The standard of living during the marriage.
  • The ability of the paying spouses to pay alimony taking into account their income, debts, assets and the standard of living during the marriage.
  • Any other factors the court deems just and proper.

Alimony is a very fact-specific determination in Rhode Island. There is no set formula to use to determine the amount and duration of alimony and is based on analyzing the specific circumstances of the marriage. Experienced attorneys understand the factors used to determine alimony and how they are applied. Consulting with one may be beneficial.