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Alimony in Oklahoma: Determining spousal support after divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Family Law |

Alimony represents a financial obligation from one ex-spouse to the other post-divorce, designed to offset any significant disparities in earning capacity and maintain a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. It is not about punishing anyone. Instead, it is there to help the spouse who might not earn as much money or who might need a hand getting back on their feet after the divorce.

In Oklahoma, courts do not award alimony by default. It is not a sure thing. The spouse requesting for alimony might even have to prove why they need or deserve the financial support from their spouse. The judge looks at each divorce case carefully to decide if alimony makes sense.

How does the judge determine an award of alimony?

The judge will consider several factors when deciding whether to award alimony and how much to award. These factors include:

  • Marital duration: A lengthier marriage may suggest a stronger case for alimony, as it often correlates with increased financial interdependence between spouses.
  • Income and earnings: The court examines current earnings and potential earning capacity to assess the need for and the ability to pay alimony.
  • Future earning potential: Considerations include age, health and vocational skills, which may affect a spouse’s ability to become self-sufficient.
  • Standard of living: The lifestyle established during the marriage informs the court’s understanding of what constitutes a reasonable standard of living post-divorce.

Oklahoma does not have a strict set of rules for making an award of alimony. It is not like there is a fixed amount of money the court orders every time. Instead, the law tries to be fair by looking at each divorce differently to decide if alimony is necessary and how much spousal support is reasonable.

Alimony does not last forever

Alimony awards may be temporary, giving the recipient time to gain employment or complete education. But they may span a more extended period, though typically with a defined endpoint. Indefinite alimony remains an exception, reserved for specific, often extraordinary circumstances. Either spouse can request the court to modify the alimony agreement if there is a significant change in their life or financial situation.

The purpose of alimony is to help both spouses move on with their lives in a fair way.