In a divorce agreement, alimony payments are often included as a way for a former spouse to maintain a lifestyle similar to married life. Also known as spousal support, these payments are determined by a court.

According to financial professional Jamie Kresge in a recent column for the Abington Journal, the court will address certain characteristics of a divorce when determining the amount of alimony granted.

First, need is considered. If the recipient spouse can’t afford to pay what is needed, alimony is likely. The paying spouse must be in good financial shape in order to make payments, however. These spouses must be able to make the alimony payments and have enough money to meet basic needs and preserve a similar pre-divorce lifestyle. If a couple lived an extravagant lifestyle while together, the court will likely take that into account when the amount of alimony is decided upon, writes Kresge.

According to the Washington Times, many states have toyed with the idea of doing away with alimony for life arrangements. The most serious challenge occurred recently in Massachusetts, when the state Senate voted unanimously to pursue alimony reform.

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