After a divorce, you probably would like to move on, but often, you must continue to provide some care for your former spouse in the form of alimony. You should know that judges do not automatically assign spousal support in every case.
It is possible to not have to pay at all. However, it is at the court’s discretion, so you may have to plead your case.
As the Arkansas Circuit Courts explains, the purpose of spousal support is to fix an imbalance in financial situations that results from the divorce. In other words, if you will be much better off financially than your spouse, then the court will seriously consider awarding alimony.
The court will also consider need, which includes the ability of your spouse to change or better his or her financial situation without help from you. So, if there is a chance your former spouse could get employment and do just fine after the divorce, then you may not have to pay.
The court will consider a variety of factors. It will determine if you can afford to pay support. If you will be better off than your former spouse, but you will not be considerably well off, then the court may not award support. It is not a punishment but rather a way to even things out so that you both can have some financial security.
The court will also consider the needs of your children. If your former spouse will have a hard time securing employment due to having to care for the children, then this would be an indicator that alimony could help.
The court also looks at your divorce settlement and the property that you each received. If your spouse got a lot of property, then the court would rather see him or her liquidate that for living expenses than to award alimony.
You should also know the court considers your conduct during the marriage and the length of your marriage when making this decision. A short marriage may mean no award. If your former spouse has made abuse allegations, then that could work against you.