Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hi and thanks for your question.
States determine alimony/spousal support on a case by case basis and will first look to the need of the party requesting alimony and the ability to pay of the party from whom it's requested. I'm attaching a chart put out by the American Bar Association and from that you can see that most states have a list of factors that they will consider in determining the amount and the duration of alimony, if any. Most states claim they want to do what is "fair" -- so even if you meet or don't meet some of the factors, the court will look at your specific situation to determine what is fair.
Some things in your post jump out at me as factors a court of any state would consider, some in your favor and some not.
First, the fact that you've been married for 27 years means that you have a long term marriage and states will consider the length of your marriage in determining whether or not to award alimony. This may be a negative against you.
That being said, however, if you are close to retirement and/or you are going to be on disability because you cannot work, these are factors that would weigh in your favor that you would not have to pay alimony. The court should look to each party's earning capacity in determining whether there should be an award of alimony. If you are disabled, then you have no earning capacity.
This brings me to the next issue of your wife's earning capacity. You say she refuses to work. If she can work but is choosing not to, then she will have a difficult time arguing that she should be entitled to alimony. If there is nothing preventing her from working except her refusal to do so, the court should consider this and should not hold you accountable for supporting her when she should be self-supporting.
I hope that this helps answer your question; if so, please click the green Accept button. Thanks very much and I wish you the best.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).