How will a judge decide the amount of alimony that I will get?
To decide the amount of term alimony, the judge will generally take the following steps:
- The judge will use a mathematical formula, which is based on 30 percent of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes at the time the order is created, to come up with an amount.
- The judge will look at the “reasonable need” of the person receiving alimony and come up with an amount.
- The judge will order the lesser of the two amounts.1
However, if you can prove to the judge that you should get more alimony than what the mathematical formula comes up with, and the judge believes that such an adjustment must be made to achieve justice, the judge can:
- adjust the formula amounts to increase the amount of alimony; and/or
- lengthen the period of time that alimony is paid so that is lasts for longer than half the length of the marriage.2
Special circumstances that can justify an adjustment include, but are not limited to, the following:
- health, including disability, chronic or severe mental or physical illness, or other unusual health circumstances of either party;
- the amount of any financial dependency of one party on the other and the length of time of this dependency;
- vocational skills, occupation, benefits available from employment, and the present and future employability of both parties;
- voluntary unemployment or underemployment of either party;
- any special needs of a minor or adult child of the parties;
- property awarded as part of the divorce;
- the behavior of either party during the marriage, including:
- differences in the parties’ benefits under the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Social Security program;
- lessening of significant assets by a party, coupled with a lack of sufficient assets from which property can be equitably divided or recouped;
- any other reason the court deems material and relevant.2
1 NH ST § 458:19-a(II)
2 NH ST § 458:19-a(III), (IV)