How Is Alimony Calculated in Arkansas?
By Heather Frances J.D.
Arkansas courts award alimony, also called spousal support, during a divorce case if the court deems that alimony is appropriate. Not every case qualifies for alimony. Ultimately, the court determines the amount of alimony awarded as well as the length of payment. An Arkansas judge bases his determination on several factors.
Types of Alimony
Arkansas awards three types of alimony: temporary, short-term, or permanent. Similar to other temporary orders, temporary alimony is an award that covers the period between when you file for divorce and when the divorce decree is issued. Short-term alimony is awarded for a defined period of time to allow you to get on your feet. If you are awarded permanent alimony, it automatically terminates if you remarry or enter into a situation that the court considers as equivalent to remarriage, unless the divorce order indicates otherwise.
Award and Amount
Arkansas courts determine whether you should receive alimony based on the need of the requesting party and the other party's ability to pay. Unlike child support, alimony awards are not based on a set of calculations or guidelines, so there is no way to predict how the judge will calculate your alimony. Rather, the judge will look at your assets, your spouse’s assets, your ability to support yourself, your living situation during your marriage and anything else the court deems just.
Length of Alimony
Arkansas courts may award alimony for short or long periods of time, depending on what the court feels is just under the circumstances. Your situation may require only a brief period of alimony to cover your expenses while you get set up in a new location, or longer if you need to attend school and then find a job to support yourself.
The court can modify an alimony award at any time. Either you or your ex-spouse can petition the court for a modification if there is a change of circumstance since the award was issued. The petitioning spouse must then serve the petition on the other spouse. The court will then determine if a modification is appropriate and the terms of any new support order. For example, if the alimony payment was based on your inability to support yourself sufficiently, but you then secure a high-paying job, your ex-spouse might seek a modification.
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.