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Alimony | If Wife Filed for Divorce Can She Get Alimony

Jul 11, 2023 | Family Law, Q&A

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Question: If Wife Filed for Divorce Can She Get Alimony?

Understanding Alimony

Alimony laws are determined by the state legislature in each state. Arkansas law allows for alimony, though it is only given with good reason. Divorce courts prefer to care for both spouses by dividing marital property. If there’s insufficient property to divide, or there is a significant disparity between the parties’ incomes – especially if one party may have to go on the state dime without it – alimony is a possibility. The trial judge decides on a case-by-case basis, and judges are afforded a wide degree of discretion.

Alimony Based on “Needs and Abilities”

Arkansas bases alimony awards on the “needs and abilities” standard; before making a decision, a judge must consider the needs of the receiving spouse and the abilities of the providing spouse. 

Factors Considered in Alimony Awards

The analysis is detailed and examines a myriad of factors: the financial circumstances of both parties, including the expendable income of each, the couple’s past standard of living, the value of jointly owned property, each party’s earning ability, the health and medical condition of each of the parties, the length of the marriage, the amount of child support ordered, as well as other considerations.

Types of Alimony: Temporary and Permanent

The most common type of alimony is temporary or rehabilitative alimony, which generally lasts for a few months or so and is intended to get the receiving party back on their feet so they can start supporting themselves. Permanent alimony is available in Arkansas, but it’s seldom awarded except when one party to the marriage lacks reasonable prospects to support themselves properly and the other has the means to pay it.

 

Ending Alimony Payments

Despite the name, even permanent alimony doesn’t last forever. It ends when the paying spouse dies, the receiving spouse remarries or lives full-time with another person in an intimate relationship, or if the court finds any other good reason to terminate it.

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