How does the court determine need for alimony?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Divorce |

When it comes to assigning alimony, the court will consider need. Not every couple will have a spousal support award, especially if there is no apparent need. explains the needs of each party are only one factor the court considers, but it often plays a big role. The court will use an assessment process to determine need.

Standard of living

The judge will begin by figuring out the standard of living during the marriage. This sets the baseline for how the judge considers need in the relationship. It can vary greatly. For some couples, the need is serious. One partner may not be able to afford daily living expenses after the divorce, creating a huge need.

However, the standard of living comes in where the situation is not so clear. For example, if the couple has always enjoyed the services of a maid and cook, then that sets the standard. If one party would be unable to continue this lifestyle after the divorce, it could signify need.

Household income

The court will also consider the household income during the marriage. This would also cover who made the money. One spouse may have stayed at home with the children, which means the other spouse made the income. This will play into need after the divorce since one spouse will have no income flow.


The court will consider how each party will need to adjust their lives to account for the divorce. For example, a party who did not work would have to get a job. If that process will take time, then he or she will have a need for support in the interim.

By looking over the situation, a judge can determine if there is a legitimate need to have one spouse pay the other alimony.