Divorce and Financial Issues: Alimony
- August 16, 2018
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How alimony works in Vermont.
WHAT IS ALIMONY?
Spousal maintenance (aka alimony) is the obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis. It is not gender-based; either spouse may request the support to help with financial hardship after divorce. Alimony may be appropriate if, for example, seeking alimony spouse was a homemaker, which is why they don’t have their personal source of income. It also could be that one of the spouses will never be able to earn enough to live in the lifestyle established during the marriage. The spouse who wants alimony must request it before the divorce is final.
HOW IS IT CALCULATED?
Alimony is established on a case-by-case basis. Vermont court will determine the amount and duration of payments based on individual needs. The court doesn’t have to be involved; spouses could agree on the alimony payments when they complete their separation agreement.
The factors that determine the amount and duration include, but are not limited to:
- The financial resources and needs of a spouse seeking support.
- The financial resources of both spouses.
- The seeking spouse’s earning capacity and ability to produce income.
- The property division during divorce.
- Whether the seeking spouse has the custody of minor children.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking alimony.
- Inflation in relation to the cost of living.
- The time and expense necessary for the recipient spouse to receive education or training that will help them find employment.
- The spousal maintenance guidelines (15 V.S.A. § 752 b.8).
THE DIVORCE WAS MY SPOUSE’S FAULT, DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY ALIMONY?
In Vermont, the court doesn’t consider any marital misconduct when determining financial aspects of divorce, such as alimony. Adultery or other wrongdoings do not have any direct effect on the establishment of the alimony amount. However, if one spouse spent a substantial amount of money on an affair, the court will consider those expenses when dividing a couple’s property.