Considerations in Granting Alimony
“Before alimony is ever granted by a court, the judge must take into account the following: (1) the length of the marriage of the parties, (2) the cause for the divorce or legal separation, (3) the respective ages of the parties involved, (4) the health of the parties, (4) station in life, (5) occupation, (6) amount and sources of income, (7) vocational skills, (8) employability, (9) estate needs of the parties, and (10) property distribution.
If there are very young children involved in the dissolution, the court will take into consideration the desirability of the custodial parent, often the mother, but not necessarily, of securing employment. This will be weighed against the costs of work-related daycare and any special needs of the children.
If alimony is to be awarded, judges consider the totality of the facts and circumstances of the parties to the action. The popularly held belief that judges employ formulas or that there are rules of thumb in awarding alimony is not true. A judge has four options for alimony: (1) periodic alimony, (2) lump sum alimony, (3) one dollar per year, and (4) no alimony. It must be remembered that if alimony is not awarded at the time of dissolution you will be forever barred and precluded from getting alimony from a Connecticut court or any court.
The granting of one dollar per year, although seemingly of no consequence, makes the judgment of divorce subject to modification for purposes of granting alimony at a later date if certain legal requirements are met. Unless otherwise specified in the divorce, alimony may always be modified either upward, downward, or even eliminated. Any modification of an alimony award may be accomplished only after a court has determined that there has been a substantial change in circumstances of one of the parties.
Not all alimony is for an undetermined duration. Courts have begun to award what is in effect limited duration alimony, commonly called “rehabilitative alimony.” This alimony is intended to be used as interim or transitional support for one of the parties. When one of the parties is in school or a training program which will ultimately lead to that person becoming self-sufficient, or to compensate one of the parties for having been absent or out of the workplace for a long period of time, courts have resorted to this type of alimony.
Depending on the specific circumstances, alimony can be made non-modifiable as to the amount paid or the length of the term of the payment of the alimony. If the final divorce decree is silent or does not mention modification of alimony, the court will retain the ability to modify the alimony decree.
Before signing any agreement concerning alimony, make sure that you have been fully apprised of your rights and you know how it will impact your life.”
Originally published by FFWP P.C. of Manchester.
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