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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3019
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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How does alimony work? Is there a chance I (the wife) would

Customer Question

How does alimony work? Is there a chance I (the wife) would have to pay alimony if I am/have been the more consistent earner? We have no children together, however, I have helped support two from his previous marriage.
We have been living in two separate states for 9 months.
He entered into the relationship with first marriage debt. Does that debt become mine even if it is all in his name?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 4 months ago.

Hello JACUSTOMER,

Alimony or spousal support is a somewhat complicated matter, and many factors are taken into consideration in determining whether, how much, and for how long alimony should be paid from one spouse to another. Also each state has its own laws regarding alimony.

But generally, the factors that are taken into consideration in determining whether alimony will be paid from one spouse to another are as follows:

1. The relative earning power of the spouses. If one spouse has or had more earning power during the marriage it is likely that spouse will pay alimony.

2. The duration of the marriage and the standard of living during the marriage - the longer the marriage and the higher the standard of living during the marriage, the more likely it is that alimony will be paid from one to another to maintain the standard of living during the marriage.

3. The employability and education of the spouses. If one spouse is less educated and/or less employable, the more likely it is that alimony will be paid from one to another.

4. The combined assets and incomes of the spouses. If there is a disparity of assets or income between spouses it is more likely alimony will be paid from one to another.

5. How much time it will take for one of the spouses to become self sustaining. These days most alimony laws provide that alimony is temporary and is used to give the lower earning spouse sufficient time to become self sustaining and back up near the standard of living established during the marriage.

6. The health of the spouses. If one spouse has a significant or permanent health condition, it is more likely one spouse will pay alimony to the infirm spouse.

7. Marital misconduct. If one spouse committed adultery or other spousal abuse, it is less likely that spouse will receive alimony.

These are the basic factors a court will take into consideration when deciding the alimony question.

With respect to his children from a previous marriage, unless you legally adopted those children there generally is no obligation to provide financial support to your step children after a divorce. In addition, since you provided support to the step children during the marriage, a court may take this into consideration in your favor in determining whether and for how long you might have to provide alimony to your spouse.

Similarly, with respect to your husband's debt from the prior marriage, if this debt is in his name only, you would have no obligation to help pay off that debt after the divorce.

An excellent site where you can learn about the basic divorce laws and alimony laws of your state is: divorcenet.com. I encourage you to check it out to get a more full picture of the alimony or spousal support laws in your individual state.

I hope this helps.

Thomas

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