If you’re thinking of divorce, you may also be wondering about alimony (also known as spousal support). Regardless of whether you think you may end up as the payor or the payee, you should know something about alimony before you make decisions about your case.
The spousal support conversation is an important discussion to have with an attorney who is experienced in Nebraska family law. In our many years practicing Nebraska family law at Hightower Reff Law in Omaha, Nebraska, we have learned that the more information clients have, the more clear and confident they are about their case and the decisions they make.
When it comes to alimony, there are some things you may be surprised to learn. If you’re a little older, and someone you know divorced many years ago, you may have heard it mentioned that the husband was ordered to continue supporting the wife “in the manner to which she’s become accustomed.” That may be the way many courts approached alimony in the days of yesteryear, but it’s not the way spousal support goes in Nebraska today.
The times have changed. In the majority of cases, Nebraska courts don’t award alimony. If they do, it’s for a short time – long enough for the spouse receiving support to get training or education or find a job. It’s sometimes called “rehabilitative spousal support.” Nebraska courts usually consider several factors when deciding spousal support, including the relative economic circumstances of both parties in its alimony decisions.
Keep in mind that it is up to the court to determine whether to award alimony, the amount and the length of time, unless there is a settlement between the parties. In cases where there is child support, that will be determined first, and then the amount of spousal support will be decided based on each party’s income and expenses after child support is paid. The factors that the court will use to determine whether alimony is appropriate are:
- Duration of the marriage.
- Contributions of each party like taking care of kids, interruption of their careers or education.
- Ability of the spouse receiving alimony to hold a job without interfering with the interests of children in their custody.
- Relative economic circumstances of the parties.
- Disparity of income between the parties.
- Physical or mental disability or health issues keeping a party from full time employment.
- Other factors the court finds relevant based on the individual circumstances of the case.
The most important consideration for the court in determining alimony is fairness and reasonableness, to be determined by the facts of each case.