Alimony or spousal support can be one of the most confusing and contentious parts of a divorce. Unlike child support in Connecticut, there are no mathematical formulas or written guidelines to evaluating whether alimony is appropriate in a certain case and if so, what is the appropriate amount of alimony and length of time that alimony should be paid.
How Alimony is Calculated in Connecticut
Connecticut family court judges have considerable discretion when making an alimony award. The court takes a number of factors into consideration when determining whether to order the payment of alimony and for what amount and length of time:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of you and your spouse
- The occupation, amount and sources of income, earning capacity, vocational skills, education, employability, and station of you and your spouse
- The estate and needs of you and your spouse
- The cause of the divorce
- The division of property between you and your spouse
- When there are minor children involved, the desirability and practicality of the custodial parent securing employment
Alimony can be awarded for a certain period of time. Depending upon the case, time limited alimony may be appropriate to allow a spouse to become self-sufficient, such as time to obtain a degree, time to increase the spouse’s earnings, or time for the children to attain a certain age to lessen parenting responsibilities and allow the spouse to work. Time limited alimony may also be appropriate when life events, such as retirement, are anticipated, and you want to limit having to return to court in the future to change or end an alimony obligation.
Alimony can also be awarded for an indeterminate amount of time. A lifetime award of alimony may be appropriate when a person has a significant or progressive medical issue that prevents employment or self-support. A lifetime award may also be considered by the court when the court anticipates that a life event, such as retirement, could be the basis for the entry or modification of an alimony order in the future if and when the life event occurs.
Alimony can be paid on a weekly or monthly basis or in a lump sum. The appropriate amount of alimony to be paid and the structure and timing of said payments in each case varies, particularly when you or your spouse have several components or types of income, own a closely-held or family business, are a high-income earner, or have executive or deferred compensation.
Due to the recent tax changes in the treatment of alimony, it is even more important to work with experienced Connecticut alimony lawyers who understand the impact of these changes when determining the appropriate amount of alimony in a matter.
If you have an existing alimony order that needs to be modified due to a change in circumstances, such as involuntary job loss, increased earnings of an alimony recipient, medical issues, or cohabitation, you can be confident knowing that our family law attorneys are able to pursue the changes in the existing alimony orders effectively and efficiently through negotiation or trial to meet the new realities.
When you need a Hartford family attorney for your alimony needs, either establishing an initial order or modifying an order, you can be certain that our family attorneys at Ruel Ruel Burns & Britt, LLC, are prepared to guide your alimony matters to completion. Contact our family law attorneys today at 860-206-9096 or through our online contact form to schedule a consultation.