A court can consider the spouse’s age and health as these factors relate to the person’s ability to earn, but that is not the end of the analysis. Some of the other factors considered by the court are the distribution of the marital assets, the concerns of the children, the parties’ occupations, the time and expense required for the supported spouse to acquire education or find appropriate employment, and the standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage. Additionally, when making an alimony determination and considering “the conduct of the parties,” a Family Court judge must also consider the parties good conduct, Tarro v. Tarro 485 A. 2d 558 561 (RI 1984). Based on the case law, it is also important for clients to understand that bad conduct by itself cannot warrant an alimony award.
Alimony can be “fixed” and “non-modifiable” or it can be modifiable in the future. One advantage of negotiating an alimony agreement is to fix it as to both parties so that they do not have to face an attempt to modify the alimony award in the future, up or down, as the case may be.
You should consult a family law attorney if you have questions about whether you would be entitled to alimony, or whether you might be required to pay your spouse alimony if you become divorced.