How to Support Yourself After a Divorce and Alimony

Supporting Yourself After Divorce

I have been juggling numbers and expenses for so many years, I can produce a budget for a client much faster than they can. I know the approximate cost of utilities, insurance, rentals, misc, groceries, etc., etc. With each case that involves alimony, I go through the budget scenario for both the payor and the payee. The budget is where you start because what the Court will do is look at the difference between what you make and what you need.

Some Examples of Alimony Payments

  1. Husband makes $120k gross. His wife makes $30k gross. Long-term marriage. Husband’s fault. Looking at the net income, the Husband brings home about $7,000.00. It could be less depending on things like health insurance costs, retirement, loans on retirement, etc. But for the sake of ease, let’s use $7,000.00. The wife has $2,600.00 net income. The wife needs $5,000 to make her monthly expenses. The Court is not likely to award more than $2,400 to her. Sometimes people come in and they want half of the income of their spouse. But in this case, if we gave her $3,500, she would have $6,100.00 and he would have $3,500.00. Regardless of his fault, the Court will award based on the “reasonable and necessary needs” of the party and the other person’s ability to pay the deficit. Following me?
  2. What if the one party has no income? Then we look at what we can impute for their income. If they were working, what could they be making? Have they been out of the job force for a long time? What did they make when they were working? What could they make? If they are unable to work due to illness, then have they have applied for disability? Will there be retirement assets divided? Is child support going to be awarded? The Court will do its best to divide the net income to enable both parties to support themselves.
  3. Husband and Wife make equal income but all of the debt is in the Wife’s name and it is joint marital debt. She can’t afford to pay all of the debt alone. The court will not award alimony, because alimony is spousal support. However, they most likely will order the other party to pay a portion of the debt.
  4. The husband makes about $1,500 more in net income than the wife. The wife wants to keep the house so she wants spousal support. It’s a short-term marriage. The wife is unlikely to be awarded alimony. The Court will look at all the factors and what is reasonable and necessary.

The Opinion of an Expert Is Important

a man removing his wedding ring for a divorceThere are endless combinations of numbers I could go into, but what you need to know going into divorce is your monthly budget. As I said when I started, I can come up with a budget, but only you will know the vet bills, or what it costs to travel to see your family, etc. If you are looking at a situation where alimony is coming into play, please consult with a qualified attorney who can guide you in the situation.


A respected Huntsville family law attorney with more than 20 years’ experience, Leigh Daniel is known for her positive attitude and her skills in the courtroom. She prides herself in the care and compassion that she and her team put into every case. Her goal is to instill a sense of confidence in her clients so they know success is on the horizon. As an author, inspirational speaker, coach, and founder of Project Positive Change, Leigh stays focused on the positive impact she can make on every client’s case.