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How To Calculate Alimony

Calculating alimony requires consideration of earning potential, child support, and lifestyle.


  • TIP: Alimony doesn’t last forever – often a few years, or long enough for the former spouse to become self-sufficient.
  • Step 1: Read the prenuptial agreement if there was one. Deduct or increase alimony according to the prenuptial agreement.
  • FACT: While U.S. census takers don’t ask about alimony, it's estimated that over 450,000 people receive it each year.
  • Step 2: Add your shared assets. Depending on the worth of assets, alimony can increase or decrease.
  • Step 3: Add all your anniversaries. The longer you were married, the higher the alimony.
  • TIP: Alimony can be reduced if one party remarries, gets a better job or a raise, or has a significant change in financial circumstances.
  • Step 4: Deduct money for each child that needs to be supported. Child support payments trump alimony.
  • Step 5: Add your debt, and reduce alimony according to half the debt load.
  • Step 6: Look at your lifestyle and deduct or increase alimony for life skills: increase for stay-at-home parenting, deduct for a college education, and deduct for increased earning power.

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