One of the reoccurring questions in initial consultations for divorce cases is a question about alimony, “Can I get alimony if I file for divorce?” More specifically, a client will want to know if he or she may receive alimony in his or her divorce and does it matter if I am the one who files for divorce? The answer is often, it depends.
What is alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is governed by RSA 458:19. In order to receive alimony, the receiver must first establish that there is a need for alimony. In addition to establishing a need, the payor (person paying alimony) must also have the ability to pay.
How much alimony will I get?
In New Hampshire, the courts have broad discretion when awarding alimony. There is no formula to determine either the amount of alimony or how long an alimony order will last. If the Court issues an Order on alimony, it must take into account the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage. Also, when determining the amount of alimony awarded, the Court has to consider the length of the marriage, the age, health, social, or economic status, occupation, amount and sources of income, property awarded to either party, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties, the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income, the fault of either party as defined in RSA 458:16-a, II(l); and the federal tax consequences of the order. While it is not specifically listed in RSA 458:19, oftentimes the court also looks at the amount of child support being received or paid by either party when determining its alimony order.
It doesn’t matter whether you or your spouse file for divorce. Either one of you can request alimony.
Each individual case is unique and sitting down with a licensed New Hampshire attorney may be able to help you determine whether or not you can expect to receive alimony and how much or for how long.
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