Threshold for maximum allowable alimony


#1

Seems I’ve read in a few places that (for obvious reasons), a dependent spouse cannot take ALL available income from the spouse paying child support and/or alimony. Is there a ‘general rule of thumb’ or “unofficial threshold” that dictates what is reasonable? For example, if a dependent spouse can prove the majority of the 16 factors a judge would take into consideration when determining alimony, as listed here :

http://www.rosen.com/alimony/afaqs/what-factors-does-the-court-consider-in-determining-alimony/

and assume a long term marriage (23+ years), and assume a dependent spouse makes 50% of the other spouse… what is ‘reasonable’ to take for the combined amount of child support + alimony? 50% of net monthly income? 70%? 80%

Just looking for a general guide as to what that maximum would be. (if there is one)
thank you


#2

There is no magic formula to determine what percentage of an alimony award may be. It is based on need versus ability to pay, and it is not a product of the net income available because net income can be greatly reduced with voluntary deductions.


#3

Thanks for your response Kathleen. But if it’s based on need vs. the ability to pay, then why are there the 16 factors that can be considered in determining an alimony amount?

For example if there are 2 couples (Jane & John, and Sally & Sam) that have both been married for 23 years, same debts, and both wives make 50% of their husbands salary, and Jane & John have none of the 16 factors, but Sally & Sam have 13 of the 16, including an adulterous Sam, a Sally that put him thru college, a Sally who has had cancer 10 years ago that leaves her with lingering medical conditions, a Sam that has pilfered marital monies to fund liasons with co-workers and prostitutes… are you telling me the alimony in those two situations would be the same for Jane and Sally since their needs and their husbands salary are the same?

That is the essence of my question… how MUCH WEIGHT are the 16 factors given in determining alimony, and what is considered reasonable if practically all of those factors can be proven against the husband?
?
Thanks again


#4

For some judges, yes, the alimony may be the same. For others, they may give considerale weight to the factors. The judge gives the factors as much weight as they deem appropriate.


#5

HOLY MOLY! Really? Wow I had no idea there was THAT much room for a judge’s discretion. I am not sure if that is inherently better or worse; but thanks very much for your reply.
Regards
NC_resident