Can I Get Alimony?

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“We have been married for almost seven years, and I just found out that my husband has been having an affair for five years, and is moving in with her. I have a good enough job, but I feel that he should have to pay for what he has done to me. We have no children. Can I get alimony under alimony law?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I’m sure that you are hurting now, and I’m sorry for that hurt. The alimony law in most states bases alimony (also called “maintenance”) on the need, the relative financial position, and the lifestyle attendant to each spouse. What that means is that the court is unlikely to give you alimony if you are the higher wage earner, or if you and your spouse both earn about the same amount, unless there are financial reasons for providing you with maintenance.

If you earn substantially less than your spouse, and need the alimony or maintenance to offset a great disparity in your income, the court may award you alimony or maintenance, however in such a case, and given the relative shortness of your marriage, it is likely to only be for a few years to help you get back on your feet. In fact in some states, such as California, when the court awards alimony they will give you a strict warning that the maintenance will last only a certain number of years (usually half the length of the marriage), and that the court expects you to become self-sufficient in that time.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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