Alimony Calculator: The Factors in the Equation


Alimony, or spousal support, is not a part of every divorce. Each state has its own laws as well as its own factors for calculating alimony.

When the Judge Decides

The judge has 2 tasks as an alimony calculator: (1) Determining whether a spouse has a need for support in the first place, and (2) deciding on the amount of that support. The following are the most influential variables that the court will likely weigh in any case:

The length of the marriage

The ability of each spouse to work

The ability of the spouse to pay alimony

The age and physical and emotional health of each party

The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a comparable standard

Parental responsibilities (the primary caregiver may find it hard to pursue an outside career)

The financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party

The needs of each party

Vocational skills, earning capacities, educational levels, and employability of the parties

Liabilities of each party

The contribution of each to the marriage and the family

Fault Divorces

Also be aware that in states which allow fault divorces (fault for the breakdown of the marriage, in the form of domestic violence, desertion, drug abuse, or adultery, for example) can be considered when calculating alimony.

If you show that your ex-spouse has taken drugs, resulting in depleted marital assets, a judge may factor that into his or her alimony calculations. It is not enough to show that your ex-spouse was a "bad person" or "bad spouse".

Although the above list represents the most common factors, there is no guarantee that anyone will receive the support amount that he or she wants. The objective is to demonstrate need to the satisfaction of the court.