The calculation of alimony actually varies a lot by case and by court. Alimony calculations aren't mandated by specific state rules in the same way child support is, and courts have some leeway in deciding matters related to alimony. In come cases, the two individuals might negotiate and agree to alimony outside of the court, and the court would likely honor such agreements.
When the court is asked to rule on matters of alimony, it does typically follow some guidance in what to consider. One factor that is common in alimony decisions is the overall relationship and situation of both individuals. The court will consider the financial condition of the parties along with their age, emotional state and physical condition. If one person is much more financially stable and secure than another, that could cause the court to award alimony.
Alimony orders can be temporary. For example, the court might decide that one spouse needs education and retraining so they can become self-sufficient. If one spouse helped put the other through medical school by waiting tables, that spouse might want to now seek his or her own education. The court might award alimony for a period of time that would help cover that education.
The length of the marriage and how the couple handled money during the marriage might also play a role. If the marriage only lasted a few months and the couple never even got around to mingling finances, alimony is less likely than if the marriage lasted 10 years and one spouse was reliant on the other for financial support.
Because no hard and fast rules apply, alimony is often a contentious item in a divorce. If you are seeking alimony, a Fort Myers family law attorney can help you make the best case for an award that is appropriate in your situation.
Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed Oct. 21, 2016