What is a typical formula for calculating alimony? 28 Answers as of November 08, 2011

I've heard 1/3 of my pay until I retire goes to alimony. Others are saying that I still owe money even after retirement. I am looking into getting a divorce. I need to calculate alimony, but I don't know how.

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The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
Unlike child support, there is no formula for spousal support in Ohio. Rather, the court examines a number of factors contained in a statute.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 11/8/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
There really is no actual formula for calculating alimony. Sometimes, it is derived at insure that your spouse retains the standard of living that your spouse had during the marriage. Otherwise, it can be some supplemental amount to simply allow your spouse to pay her monthly maintenance bills.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/4/2011
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
Here are the state of Alabama guidelines for alimony.Alimony Guidelines. (From Sections 30-2-51 through 30-2-55 of the Alabama Code)(a) If either spouse has no separate estate or if it is insufficient for the maintenance of a spouse, the judge, upon granting a divorce, at his or her discretion, may order to a spouse an allowance out of the estate of the other spouse, taking into consideration the value thereof and the condition of the spouse's family. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the judge may not take into consideration any property acquired prior to the marriage of the parties or by inheritance or gift unless the judge finds from the evidence that the property, or income produced by the property, has been used regularly for the common benefit of the parties during their marriage.(b) The judge, at his or her discretion, may include in the estate of either spouse the present value of any future or current retirement benefits, that a spouse may have a vested interest in or may be receiving on the date the action for divorce is filed, provided that the following conditions are met:(1) The parties have been married for a period of 10 years during which the retirement was being accumulated.(2) The court shall not include in the estate the value of any retirement benefits acquired prior to the marriage including any interest or appreciation of the benefits.(3) The total amount of the retirement benefits payable to the non-covered spouse shall not exceed 50 percent of the retirement benefits that may be considered by the court.(c) If the court finds in its discretion that any of the covered spouse's retirement benefits should be distributed to the non-covered spouse, the amount is not payable to the non-covered spouse until the covered spouse begins to receive his or her retirement benefits or reaches the age of 65 years, unless both parties agree to a lump sum settlement of the non-covered spouse's benefits payable in one or more installments. If the divorce is in favor of either spouse for the misconduct of the other spouse, the judge trying the case shall have the right to make an allowance to either spouse out of the estate of either spouse, or not make an allowance as the circumstances of the case may justify, and if an allowance is made, the misconduct of either spouse may be considered in determining the amount; provided, however, that any property acquired prior to the marriage of the parties or by inheritance or gift may not be considered in determining the amount. As you can see each court has the discretion to set the amount.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/4/2011
Law Office of James Bordonaro
Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
It is very difficult to determine alimony. First, it depends on each spouse's need and the other's ability to pay. Often the length of marriage is a key factor. If one spouse has been a housewife sometimes alimony is used to allow her to go back to school to get a job. Alimony can be a lump sum or several payments or, in rare cases, such as if the wife is too old to go back to school, for the rest of her life. Sometimes remarriage is a key factor. There is no "formula" to determine these issues as most times the parties come to an agreement amongst themselves.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 11/3/2011
Law Office of Neil M. Kerstein
Law Office of Neil M. Kerstein | Neil M. Kerstein
Alimony is determined based upon the financial circumstances of both parties, the length of the marriage and many other factors. I suggest that you consult an attorney at your earliest convenience.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 11/3/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Alimony does not exist in Texas - it is unconstitutional. If your wife expects temporary spousal support, that is another question and the calculation is not simple, it is limited to: the amount of money she needs to meet her "minimum reasonable needs after considering the assets awarded in the divorce to her which she could use to meet said needs" or 20% of your net resources whichever is less and the court MAY vary from this only for good cause. Bottom line, you need to hire a lawyer if you are considering a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, there does not exist a legal calculator for alimony. There is no absolute right to financial support for a spouse. An award of alimony is dependent on a variety of factors, including one's ability to find gainful employment. Thus, if the Court believes that one party has the ability to go back to work but chooses not to do so, the Court could choose to not award alimony. Additionally, if there are significant assets, the Court might find that the spouse seeking alimony does not need it. There is a very general rule of thumb (but not a law) that for every 3 years of marriage, there is 1 year of alimony.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    You need to meet with a skilled family law attorney to explore the particulars of your situation and develop the best plan. Spousal support is based on 5 key factors: length of the marriage, age of the parties, health status, earning capacity and standard of living during the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    There is no formula, and there is a lot to talk about with alimony issues.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    In most states, there is NO formula. It is in the discretion of the court. Be aware that you will likely pay more by not having a lawyer than by having a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
    Simultaneous with the enactment of no-fault divorce, New York enacted guidelines for awarding temporary maintenance. The stated purpose of the guidelines was to provide consistency and predictability for temporary maintenance awards in the same way that the child support guidelines do. Pursuant to the guidelines, maintenance is to be awarded during the divorce when one parties income is less than 2/3s of the other spouses income. The amount of maintenance is to be the lesser of a) 30% of the payor’s income minus 20% of the non-payor’s income or b) 40% of the combined income minus the non payor’s income. Income for calculation of temporary maintenance is to be capped at $500,000. Therefore, the maximum temporary maintenance award (when one spouse earns $500,000 and the other spouse has no income) is $150,000 per year or $2,885 per week. The guidelines shall not apply to incomes less than the self-support reserve (135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines currently $14,620/year). In awarding temporary maintenance, judges may also consider a host of factors including the duration of the marriage, the martial lifestyle and the party’s prospects of employment.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Please contact a domestic relations attorney with assistance inyour divorce planning. Calculating spouse support is challenging because there is no specific grid formula like chilld support. There are ten factors the court must consider, and there is room for large differences in awards.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    Spousal support (alimony) is calculated two different ways. First, if the Order is a temporary order during a Dissolution of Marriage, the court will generally use a "Guideline" set by Legislature which requires a complicated mathematical formula but simply calculated by a relevant computer program. Second, for a "permanent" (not meaning forever) there are at least fourteen issues for the court to consider, and the "computer formula" is NOT used. This is where good lawyering comes in. Considerations in part are lifestyle during the marriage, the payor's ability to pay, the payee's need, health of the parties, ability to be self supporting, ability/hindrances to work, education, etc. When you are dealing with fragile economic issues, competent legal representation should always be sought, as the subject matter of the litigation is so very important. One mistake here could cause the biggest adverse consequence of your life!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Alimony is hard to predict as it depends on many factors and the type of alimony in question. With that said, there are some new caps on general term alimony that go into effect next year.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Ruiz Law Group, P.C.
    Ruiz Law Group, P.C. | Frances Ruiz
    New matrimonial laws went into effect in October 2010 some of which affect the maintenance provisions of the law regarding spousal support. The factors to consider are not only the length of the marriage but the financial position and financial capability of the other party. Among other factors.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Lawsmith, The Law Office of J. Scott Smith
    Lawsmith, The Law Office of J. Scott Smith | J. Scott Smith
    There are many different factors included in calculating alimony. There is no real "formula" per se. When I consult a client regarding alimony I ask them to come up with their monthly expenses for around 3 months or so and then find out what is needed over and beyond what they bring in by themselves in order to live in the lifestyle that they were once accustomed while married. The General Statutes of NC gives 16 factors that a Court may base an award of alimony on including marital misconduct, duration of the marriage, standard of living, etc.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Spousal support or "alimony" is difficult to calculate precisely because a judge has so much subjective authority and discretion in this matter. There are some basic things you should know, which can help your decision. First, permanent spousal support is difficult to obtain in Louisiana. First, a spouse must prove that they are "free from fault" in the breakup of the marriage in order to be eligible for permanent spousal support. This is a difficult burden, because by the time many marriages break up there has been plenty of fault to go around between both parties. Secondly, a spouse seeking permanent support must be in "necessitous circumstances," meaning that they cannot, without help, support themselves on a basic level. Permanent spousal support is not intended to keep a party in the manner to which they were accustomed while married but instead to provide basic level support. Spouses that receive permanent support are usually long-time housewives who have either never acquired marketable skills or who have lost those skills because of years out of the marketplace. Others who receive permanent support may be those who have become disabled, ill or elderly. Spousal support is limited to one-third of one's net income. Retirement income may be included, and support may be reduced by one's inability to pay although retirement is sometimes only considered an "option".
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado there is no "typical formula" for computing long term alimony. Each case is different and the decision basically involves a comparison of need versus ability to pay and there are a number of important facts that figure into determining need. There are also different standards for determining how long alimony will be required, but the most important factors for duration will be the age of the parties and the length of the marriage. You should consult a lawyer who practices in the area where you live to get a better idea of how judges in that area tend to view alimony requests.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You should retain a divorce attorney and discuss all your rights and options. Your attorney will discuss with you all the statutory factors and any relevant fault grounds, if any. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    In Georgia there is no alimony formula. It is based on need and ability to pay. The judge looks at such factors as age, past work experience, relative incomes, health issues, etc. It is a very fact based issue. You need to consult with an attorney so they can get the entire background of your situation and ask the questions they need to in order to advise you on the possible outcome of an alimony claim.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    There is no formula for calculating alimony. There is a set of statutory factors under ARS 25-319 that the court takes into consideration in determining "how much" and "how long."
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Office of Joseph M. Rameaka
    Law Office of Joseph M. Rameaka | Carol L. Ricker, Esq.
    Alimony in RI is "rehabilitative", meaning it is only intended to help the party receiving the alimony until he or she re-enters the work force. It is based on multiple factors that the court considers, not a formula. Some factors that will be considered are the length of the marriage, contributions to the lifestyle and household, and health and education level.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 11/3/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    In Washington, there is no fixed formula for calculating alimony (properly called maintenance). Instead, the court is supposed to award what it thinks is a fair amount for a fair duration. Some of the factors that the court is supposed to consider in making this decision are: age of the parties, health of the parties, duration of the marriage, work history of the parties, and educational background of the parties. This means that in a very short term marriage, you are likely to see little or no maintenance in the average case. On the other hand, in a very long term marriage, you may see a number of years of maintenance being awarded. Further, maintenance, in Washington, is supposed to be rehabilitative in nature. That means, in most cases, maintenance is only for long enough for the disadvantaged spouse to get sufficient education and training to enable him or her to be self-supporting. Also, there is an interplay between the amount of money or property each party gets and the amount of maintenance. If someone gets a very large property settlement, particularly if that property settlement is in the form of cash or the equivalent, the lower the maintenance amount. Generally, maintenance doesn't go beyond retirement age, but I can imagine situations where it could.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/3/2011
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