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What Factors Does the Court Look to When Determining the Amount of Alimony to be Paid?

The Court looks at the following factors when deciding on an Alimony award:

-the marital misconduct of either of the spouses
-the earnings and earning capacity of each spouse
-the age and the physical, mental, and emotional condition of each spouse
-the amount and sources of earned and unearned income of each spouse, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others
-how long the marriage lasted
-any contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other
-the extent to which one spouse's earning power, expenses, or financial obligations will be affected by that spouse's custody of the children
-the standard of living the couple established during the marriage
-the education of each spouse 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
-the assets and liabilities of each spouses and the relative debt service requirements of each spouse, including legal obligations of support
-the property each spouse brought to the marriage
-either spouse's contribution to the marriage as a homemaker
-the relative needs of the spouses
-the tax consequences of the alimony award
-whether either party's income was considered in dividing the couple's property, and
-any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the spouses that the court finds to be just and proper.

If either spouse has engaged in "illicit sexual behavior" during the marriage (defined as voluntary sexual or "deviate" sexual intercourse with someone other than one's spouse), it will affect the alimony award. A dependent spouse who might otherwise be eligible for alimony will receive nothing if that spouse committed illicit sexual behavior. And, a supporting spouse who might otherwise not have to pay alimony will have to do so if that spouse was the one who engaged in the illicit behavior.

Dana Wilson
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