Alimony, which is sometimes referred to as spousal support, is a hotly contested subject among many divorcing couples. It is intended goal is to ensure the less-qualified spouse is able to support him or herself after the divorce is final and assets have been divided. Along with pertinent state laws, there are five factors that courts typically look at, as listed here.

How long the marriage lasted

When applying for alimony, the length of a marriage is a major consideration. In general, the longer a marriage, the more likely it is that one spouse will be awarded alimony. This is especially true when the spouse requesting support was unemployed or only partially employed during the course of the marriage.

The couple’s previous lifestyle

For the most part, the court aims to recreate the same lifestyle as the couple experienced when they were together. If a couple led a lavish lifestyle, it is more likely that the court will recommend a larger amount of alimony, provided the spouse is capable of paying.

The needs of the spouse requesting support

The court will also consider things like medical costs or other special needs one spouse might have. Alimony payments can also cover these costs in the event the requesting spouse is unable to. The couple’s age may also play a role. An elderly person will have more difficulty securing gainful employment, so the court would want to ensure they were properly cared for.

The requested spouse’s income & debt

When one spouse makes a request for alimony, the court will need to consider the other spouse’s current financial state. If the amount requested exceeds the spouse’s income, it is likely that the request will be denied or a smaller figure will be provided. It is also possible for orders to be modified if the financial status of either spouse changes.