How do I know if I would I get alimony and custody in a divorce?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I know if I would I get alimony and custody in a divorce?

I’ve been married 2.5 years and I’m almost certain my husband and I will be divorcing. I have been the homemaker the entire time we’ve been married and while engaged so, for 3.5 years per my husband’s wishes. We also just had a baby a few months ago. I am wondering would I be able to get alimony, if so how much and for how long, how much child support would our son get a month? What are the odds of me getting full custody of our son?

Asked on December 4, 2016 under Family Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to answer your question in the abstract, because the answers depend on the specifics of your marriage and situation. It is very likely that as the homemaker, you will receive alimony or spousal support, because such is typically paid to a non-working spouse by the one who provided the principal or sole economic support for the family. It is also very likely that as the homemaker and mother, you will receive primary custody, because that is how these cases are usually decided; and if you receive custody, you will receive child support.
The above said:
1) The amount of alimony depends on your lifestyle and your husband's earnings. Two women married the exact same length of time will receive very different amounts of spousal support if one was married to a hedge fund manager making $500,000 or more a year while the the other was married to a 7/11 manager making $50,000. Alimony is meant to keep the spouse in a similar lifestyle to what she'd had and also must be payable by the other spouse, so family income determines how much you can get.
2) Similarly, child support is based on what the family had been earning and what kind of resources would have been available to the child if thee had been no divorce.
3) While it's likely you would get custody, it's not a given or guaranteed; the courts look to the best interests of the child, and if you, for example, an alcoholic or addicted, have a history of violence or criminal activity, or a history of mental illness, etc., those factors will tend to swing it towards giving custody to your spouse.
Again, the specifics of your situation will determine these things; there is no one-size-fits-all answer. To understand what you might get, consult with a family or matrimonial law attorney and discuss the specifics of your case in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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