Do Children Affect the Amount of Alimony a Spouse Receives?

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Alimony is a complicated subject for many spouses. Many factors can affect the amount of alimony a spouse is awarded, including whether or not the couple has any children. For help ensuring your rights are protected during your divorce work with a skilled Suffolk County alimony lawyer.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a form of spousal support that one person may be required to pay to the other when they separate or divorce. It is a legal obligation that one spouse, typically the higher-earning spouse, has to provide their former spouse with financial support.

Alimony is calculated by first establishing the standard of living that the couple grew accustomed to while married. Alimony is designed to ensure that both spouses are able to maintain a similar lifestyle to the one they had while together.

What Factors Affect Alimony?

A court will examine varying factors to determine what a fair amount of alimony will be. They will consider each spouse’s:

  • Income
  • Earning capacity
  • Contributions and sacrifices made for the marriage
  • Physical and mental health
  • Age
  • Parental responsibilities
  • The length of the marriage

Generally, the longer the marriage was and the lower the earning capacity of the receiving spouse, the higher the alimony payments will be. When children are involved alimony may be affected as well.

How Can Children Impact the Amount of Alimony a Person is Awarded?

Now that it has been established that parental responsibilities can impact alimony calculations, the question is: how and why?

An important subject to broach during a divorce is the matter of child custody and support. The parental responsibilities that you take on after a divorce can play a vital role in determining the amount of alimony you are eligible to receive. A lower-earning spouse who is awarded majority custody of the child may be awarded more alimony. They will surely receive child support payments as well, but taking custody of the child may make it more difficult for them to work full-time or advance in their career. This hindrance of earning potential can result in a higher amount of spousal support being awarded. This can be especially true when the child has any special needs that require extensive time and financial resources. The custodial parent will likely struggle to balance their work schedule with the needs of their child. An increase in alimony can help counteract these issues.

On the other hand, if the higher-earning spouse is awarded full custody of the child it could result in slightly lower alimony payments. A court may decide that the spouse’s money would be better spent on child care, education, and medical needs of the child.

A court will consider almost every aspect of a couple’s life when determining spousal support payments. For additional information and help reach out to an experienced family law attorney.

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