Unlike in generations past, women today make up a large portion of the American workforce. All throughout New York both mothers and fathers hold down jobs outside of the home for which they earn incomes. In some families, parents swap the traditional roles of mother as caregiver and father as breadwinner in lieu of the mother working for an income and the father staying home with the children.
Due to the variety of family-work scenarios that married households can embrace, a court can have a difficult time when it comes to deciding if alimony should be awarded in a divorce. Alimony is the payment of support from one formerly married partner to another and since every couple is different each request for alimony must be assessed based on its unique characteristics.
Many factors can influence a court's decisions regarding whether alimony should be awarded and if so, how much should be ordered. Of particular importance, however, is the financial outlook of the individual partners in an ending marriage. Whether the partners can earn incomes on their own and whether they are able to continue to live at the marital standard of living after the divorce are two factors that can determine if an award of alimony will be made.
A person's earning capacity relates to his ability to secure gainful employment. For example, a stay-at-home parent may forego educational and employment opportunities for the sake of maintaining a marital household; on the other hand, a stay-at-home parent may possess the education and training to easily transition back into the workforce after he or she secures a divorce from a marital partner.
Whether that capacity to earn will allow a party to live at the same standard he or she became accustomed to during the marriage can directly impact whether an award of alimony will be made. Other factors can also impact whether alimony will be granted to a party during a divorce; consultation with a family law attorney can help an individual better understand his or her potential to be awarded alimony during a divorce.