Home > divorce, family law general > And Now: The Rest of the (Alimony) Story

And Now: The Rest of the (Alimony) Story

In that last post, we went into the reasons for alimony and the factors that go into determining an alimony amount.  It was a general Love Fest for alimony.  I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t address the Dark Side of alimony–The Rest of the Story, so to speak.

There is a factor that the court “shall” consider, located at subpart (c) of 30-3-5(8):  The court SHALL consider the ability of the obligor spouse to pay.  This means that if there is no money for alimony, no matter how much the other spouse needs it, or how much they deserve it, they aren’t going to get it.

The harsh reality of divorce is that the income that supported one household just fine may not actually support two households.

(unless, of course, your spouse is The Donald. Which I’m guessing he/she is not.)

Even though the statute allows for alimony to help one of the parties to maintain their married lifestyle, if the person paying can’t afford to maintain that lifestyle, you don’t get it.  Things that one spouse has grown accustomed to may, of necessity, have to go away.  Things like gym memberships, and money for expensive hair stylists, and manicures, and expensive hobbies like classic car restoration or horses, and a whole host of non-essentials may not be afforded after the divorce.  Some items that might be considered “necessities” could be eliminated, for that matter–like a nicer place to live, and tv service, and steaks for dinner instead of hamburger.

Bottom line:  You’re getting divorced.  Your life is going to change.  Get used to it.


UPDATE:  See my March 2015 alimony posts regarding the New and (un)Improved alimony rulings from the court…As it happens, the court CAN order someone to pay alimony when they don’t actually make enough money to do so.

  1. July 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    And this is not meant to be overly harsh. I, for one, have been seriously guilty of living in the past, and thinking of what I COULD have had if I’d just done it right. But one of the reasons you should hire a lawyer is so you can get some reality checks like this during the course of your divorce. It’s easier to ease into getting used to the idea of how your life will change if your lawyer isn’t promising you that it won’t.


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