What is Alimony?
The definition of alimony is a legally ordered regular payment of income from one divorced spouse to the other. In Vermont, alimony is technically called “spousal maintenance” but everyone will know what you mean if you use the term alimony. It can be ordered while your divorce is ongoing or after the divorce is final, or both.
What is the Alimony Calculator?
The Vermont Family Law alimony calculator is a simple program on our website that takes three inputs from you (your income, the other spouse’s income, and the length of your marriage) and estimates how much the alimony payment is likely to be. This is not an exact science for two reasons. First, the range of possible alimony awards the judge could make is pretty broad. Second, there are other factors the judge may use to increase or decrease the amount of your alimony award. But it does give you a range of probable alimony outcomes, and it is useful for estimating how much you will receive or pay. The program uses the spousal maintenance guidelines that have been enacted by the state of Vermont.
How Should I Use the Alimony Calculator?
You should look at the alimony calculator the same way the judge will: by asking yourself the questions about each of the other factors the judge is going to use after getting to the final factor: the spousal maintenance guidelines.
Use the alimony calculator first, which will give you a range of amounts and length of time for an alimony payment. Then ask yourself the questions below to adjust your estimate up or down.
The factors that the judge must consider before awarding alimony are listed below, with questions to answer for yourself about. Realistically, it’s easier to look at these after doing the calculation, and use them to estimate your alimony award either up toward the top end of the calculator range, or down toward the bottom end of the range.
Without further ado, follow this link to the alimony calculator, then come back here to answer the rest of these questions below.
In the majority of cases, the spousal maintenance (alimony) award you will get falls within the guidelines. These guidelines determine a maintenance amount based on your annual income, your former partner's annual income and the number of months you were married.
The Other Spousal Maintenance Factors the Judge Will Consider in Your Case
What are your incomes and financial resources? Ask yourself: do either of us have a lot more income than the other? Or will either of us have a lot more of the assets from the marriage? If so, alimony might higher in the estimate you get from the calculator.
Will it take time and expense it would take for you or your spouse to obtain education in order to get a better job? If so, it’s more likely that alimony will be longer in the estimate you get from the calculator.
What was your “standard of living” during the marriage? If you were able to afford a comfortable or wealthy lifestyle because one of you has a high income, it’s more likely that the judge will order that spouse to pay spousal maintenance on the higher end of the range from the calculator.
What are your ages and health? If you’re nearing retirement, or one of you is limited in income earning potential by a health issue, higher alimony is more likely.
Can the paying spouse meet their financial needs while paying spousal maintenance? This is going to depend on how much the alimony award is, so if the award estimate from the calculator looks like that paying spouse will have a hard time meeting that spouses basic needs, the award will likely be on the low end of the estimate.
You should now have a pretty good idea of the range of possible alimony awards a judge is likely to award. Good luck! And contact me if you have any questions.