Support justified


#1

We own a marital home, two rental properties, and my husband’s business. It is my understanding that during equitable distribution I’m entitled to a share of the proceeds from the real estate and the value of the business, plus spousal support. I’ve consulted with two attorneys and an accountant who concur. The mediator has also consulted an attorney, and it is my understanding that he concurs. However, my husband has consulted an attorney who says it’s arguable. In a case in which I am not retaining ownership of the business, and therefore do not retain the right to future income derived, is it “double dipping” to also receive spousal support? As I mentioned, three attorneys say it is not, but my husband has an attorney who says it’s arguable. I have what I hope is my last mediation on Wednesday Aug 13 and really need an answer please. Thank you.

Background information: legally married 23 years as of October 2014, living together for over 25, he has been sole provider for about the last 18 years, I am currently 52 and have not yet finished my bachelor’s degree, and I’m still home educating our 14 year old daughter. I believe these factors would be relevant to a judge’s decision regarding alimony. Again, thank you again for your prompt assistance.

Addendum: I have circumstantial evidence of marital infidelity.


#2

As I’m sure the attorneys you have consulted with have told you, alimony is very discretionary. There is no formula or guidelines to determine an appropriate amount. If you cannot reach an agreement for spousal support, and you end up going before a judge to get an order on alimony, the judge will consider the following factors:

  1. The marital misconduct of either of the spouses.
  2. The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses.
  3. The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses.
  4. The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security…
  5. The duration of the marriage.
  6. The contribution by one spouse to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.
  7. The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
  8. The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage.
  9. The relative education of the spouses 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.
  10. The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt of the spouses, including legal obligations of support.
  11. The property brought to the marriage by either spouse.
  12. The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
  13. The relative needs of the spouses.
  14. The federal, State, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
  15. Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper. and last but not least:
  16. The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties marital or divisible property.

Because alimony is so discretionary, I can’t speak with certainty as to how a judge would treat your alimony claim in conjunction with your property settlement. The factors you shared (having been out of the work force, not having a bachelors degree, the length of marriage, etc.) are absolutely relevant to your alimony claim and a judge would consider these. But a judge may also consider what “buyout” you received from the business.