How is alimony determined?

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How is alimony determined?

I am in the process of getting a divorce. We were married for about 10 years and have a child. I make about double what she makes in a month. She moved out roughly a month ago. She is pushing for the divorce, so I assume that would make me the defendant. I read somewhere, that the plaintiff will not receive alimony. Is this true? If not, approximately what will the average alimony payments be, especially since she chose to leave, declined marriage counseling, and pursued the divorce.

Asked on April 22, 2011 under Family Law, Hawaii

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is a great deal of misinformation about alimony, also called "spousal support".  Often people believe that there must be a minimum period of marriage, or that a spouse with a job is ineligible, or that the plaintiff can't receive an award.  My research suggests that in HI the only requirement for alimony is that there be a valid marriage and that the spouse seeking alimony did not in some way waive their right to it (e.g. in a pre-marital, marital or divorce agreement).

Unlike child support, where there is a set formula, there are no such guidelines for spousal support. The court will usually approve whatever the parties agree upon. In the case where there is no agreement, the court must decide. Basically it considers the need of the party seeking alimony and the ability of the other party to pay. There are certain factors that the court uses in making its determination: length of the marriage, what financial condition each party will be left in after the division of assets and debts, and the post divorce ability of each spouse to earn income, etc.

At this point you really need to consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area.  They can best advise you as to your rights/responsibilities under the law.


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