Ask A Lawyer: What Should I Expect To Pay In Alimony?

Question:

My wife has filed for divorce and is asking for $4000 a month in alimony. She filed without the use of a lawyer. The amount she is asking for is half of what I make in a month. I am a self employed contractor.

She has five kids from two previous marriages and we have had none together. We have been married for almost five years and pretty much supported them all by my paychecks. She has three businesses that she has started since we moved to California in 2005. She is a realtor, owns a small cosmetics company, and recently started a catering company. What should I be expecting to pay in alimony?

 

 

 

Answer:

Maintenance, or alimony, laws vary a great deal from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  So until you consult with a local attorney, it’s hard to say with any accuracy what you may be expected to pay. If during your marriage you have generally made more money than she has, you will likely have a maintenance obligation.  The duration of maintenance is not likely to be very long given that your marriage was under five years.  You’ve alluded to a couple of arguments that will be helpful in minimizing any maintenance obligation the court might order.  Specifically, she’s a business woman.  She is educated, well trained and experienced.  One purpose of maintenance is to help the lesser earning spouse rehabilitate his/her self to become a more marketable employee.  Your wife doesn’t need to do that.  She’s already a realtor, cosmetic company owner and she owns a catering company. Further, any expenses that you covered during the marriage for her children were gifts, but you should not be obligated to continue to provide that support.  The children’s fathers are obligated to do so through child support. 

 

Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.

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