A few weeks ago a woman came into my office wanting to file for alimony. She had met with three other attorneys who told her that the facts of her case did not support a claim for alimony. In other words, she was told that if she took the case to court the judge would not award her a dime.
Why? Because under the laws of our state, there is a three-prong test that judge’s use to determine whether or not someone is entitled to receive alimony from their spouse. First, the person seeking alimony must need the money. It must be clear that she doesn’t have sufficient income to meet her living expenses. Two, her spouse must have the ability to pay. After meeting his living expenses he has to have enough money left over to pay alimony. And, thirdly, the person seeking alimony can’t have done something to cause the marriage to breakdown.
The woman who came to see me failed the test. The facts of her case made it clear she was not entitled to alimony. She didn’t need the money. Her income exceeded her monthly expenses.
He did not have the ability to pay.
She earned almost twice as much as he did during the marriage. And when they separated he assumed responsibility for the marital debt. After they separated, he was barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. And guess what caused the marriage to breakdown? Their marriage ended because after returning home from a three-day religious retreat, she confessed that for over three years she had been having an affair with a guy she knew from high school.
After I explained to her why I agreed with the other attorney’s she consulted, she said she did not like my assessment and would not quit until she found an attorney who would take her case and make her husband pay alimony.
The truth is, you don’t ever have to agree with the laws that govern or the facts of your case. However, if you want to move on, at some point you have to accept them.
This is an excerpt from What to Divorce When You are Divorcing. Download your copy below:
What to Divorce When You are Divorcing
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