Why isn’t Alimony Guaranteed?
Alimony, spousal support, spousal maintenance, it’s all the same. However, what it is not, is guaranteed.
Unlike child support, alimony is not mandatory and is not formulaic. There are a variety of factors that play into whether or not alimony will be awarded to one party or another during a divorce. Some of the factors include (but are not limited to), the length of marriage, the income of each party, earning capacity, and a variety of other factors.
Another “twist” that may affect your alimony award (or lack thereof) is the judge. While there is case law that supports alimony in a variety of scenarios, it is still largely left to the judge’s discretion. Even in the same court, different judges may have different opinions on alimony. That is why many attorneys will advise parties to reach an agreement themselves, rather than “rolling the dice” in front of a judge. Ultimately, Connecticut is an equitable distribution state so the judges do have to ensure that the overall financial picture is more or less equitable to both parties, unless very specific and extenuating circumstances exist.
That said, realizing that you have to pay alimony is often triggering for many people. We often hear that someone does not want to pay it “out of principle” or because the other party “doesn’t deserve it.” While those are valid feelings to have while going through a divorce, it is not how the Court will actually look at the scenario. If you have any questions about whether or not you should be seeking (or paying) alimony in a divorce, you should speak with your attorney and discuss your options.
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