In the most general sense, support alimony in Oklahoma is about need and ability to pay. Spousal support alimony may be awarded if the requesting spouse demonstrates both 1. A "need" for alimony and 2. That the other spouse has the "ability to pay" support. Spousal support alimony is a "transitional" concept, meaning spousal support alimony is generally supposed to be calculated to assist the spouse who needs the support to "transition" into post-marital life.
Historically, alimony was only awarded to females. The United States Supreme Court determined that considering gender for alimony claims violates the Equal Protection provision of the United States Constitution. Now, either spouse may make a claim for alimony, regardless of gender.
Oklahoma law does not give us a method or mathematical formula for calculating support alimony. Alimony is fact-sensitive and depends upon the application of a number of factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The age of each spouse
- The earning and income-producing capacity of each spouse
- The physical condition of each spouse
- The financial means of each spouse
- The mode, or standard of living to which each spouse became accustomed during the marriage
- The amount of income-producing property awarded to each spouse
- The anticipated length of time it will take for the recipient to transition to the workforce
- The recipient's cost of living during the transition or adjustment period
- The conduct of the parties
Additionally, there is a special type of alimony awarded when one spouse works to put the other spouse through school, then, shortly after graduation, they divorce. The spouse who worked to put the other spouse through school may make a claim for compensation for their sacrifice.
Overall, alimony is supposed to be reasonable, under all of the circumstances of the case. Whether we are seeking alimony or defending alimony, our process for handling cases helps our client establish the important facts from the very beginning. Most family law attorneys know these factors, but there is a difference between knowing the law and knowing how to try a case in a courtroom. Addressing alimony in a case is about more than knowing these factors -- it is about persuasively presenting the facts and the evidence to the judge in a compelling way.