Either before or after a postseparation support hearing, a dependent spouse may have their case heard by the Court on the issue of alimony. Typically, the alimony case is heard at the same time as the equitable distribution hearing, but that is by no means required, and the matter of alimony can be heard prior to the hearing of equitable distribution. However, the amount of alimony and the issue of a party’s dependency can be reviewed upon the motion of either party after the marital property is divided even if there has been a prior alimony determination.  The Court is not required to find marital fault to make an alimony award although at the alimony stage, however, marital fault is considered by the court in determining the amount and duration of any award.  Factors used by the Court in determining the amount and duration of any alimony award If a party is determined to be financially dependant upon the other spouse, the Court then considers any evidence offered by either party which proves any of the following factors:

  • Acts of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse or deviate sexual acts voluntarily entered into by a spouse with someone other than the other spouse;
  • Imprisonment resulting from a criminal act committed prior to the proceeding in which alimony is sought;
  • Abandonment;
  • Malicious turning out-of-doors of the other spouse;
  • Cruel or barbarous treatment endangering the life of the other spouse;
  • Indignities rendering the condition of the spouse intolerable and life burdensome;
  • Reckless spending of the income of either party, or the destruction, waste, diversion, or concealment of assets;
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and life burdensome;
  • Relative earnings and earnings capacities of the spouses;
  • Ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
  • Amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to earning, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or other;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
  • The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
  • Standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
  • Relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
  • Relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
  • Property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
  • Contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  • Relative needs of the spouses;
  • Federal, state, or local tax ramifications of the alimony award;

 

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