In a divorce proceeding involving legal determination of the child support, and alimony obligations, the court will reach a global ruling while considering compelling elements enumerated in the Statute pertaining specifically to alimony but the decision will not be in vacuum.
The Statute specifically provides order of alimony when “just and proper” factoring the listed legal elements that the court balances as well as all the relevant factors necessary for a fair and equitable award:
(1) ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
(2) time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to secure suitable employment;
(3) standard of living that the parties established during their marriage or domestic partnership, but giving consideration to the fact that there will be 2 households to maintain;
(4) duration of the marriage or domestic partnership;
(5) circumstances which contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
(6) age of each party;
(7) physical and mental condition of each party;
(8) ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting the needs of the other party; and
(9) financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
(B) income from assets, both those that are the property of the marriage or domestic partnership and those that are not;
(C) potential income which may be imputed to non-income producing assets of a party;
(D) any previous award of child support in this case;
(E) the financial obligations of each party;
(F) the right of a party to receive retirement benefits; and
(G) the taxability or non-taxability of income.
The court may also award alimony for a limited period until a receiving spouse can become self-supportive for an indefinite or term-limited, and tailor structured to the facts of the case presented.
The award of alimony may be retroactive to the date of the filing of the pleading that requests alimony.
Realistically though as alluded earlier, the child custody and child support awards have a significant affect on the award of alimony. The court will be less inclined to issue a significant award of alimony to the party who has been awarded primary physical custody and hence accordingly child support payments unless there is in fact a grave financial disparity among parties.
Refer to our Washington DC Divorce lawyer page for more information on this topic.