The downturn in the U.S. economy has touched the lives of most of our clients and the prospective clients we consult with every day.
Even as we look forward to a turnaround, the implications will continue to affect our families in ways that we could not have contemplated in the years leading up to today.
Once the decision is made by a husband or wife to dissolve their marriage, the family finances, a subject that is often already contentious, becomes a primary concern for everyone involved. Alimony comes to mind quickly for both the potential payer and the potential recipient. Who is entitled to alimony? How much will be paid and for how long? Who decides and what information is considered?
In total, there are 11 factors to be evaluated in determining spousal support.
Any consideration of alimony begins with an analysis of “need” and “ability to pay.” We educate our clients from the time that they initially meet with our firm as to the importance of accurately and timely providing the necessary documents and information we need to provide counsel to them in this area. No one receives an award of alimony absent a demonstrated need, no matter the income of the other party. Likewise, there is often need on the part of one spouse for additional income to cover monthly expenses, but no ability to pay on the part of the other spouse. Both elements must be met before an award is made. Additionally, it is not the parties who determine their need, or their ability to pay, but rather the law that defines the critical elements of need, income, ability and duration.