Duration of Marriage and Alimony
The duration of marriage can impact alimony in cases of separation and divorce. The Court of Cassation has shed light on this matter, addressing whether a short-lived marriage entitles the lower-earning spouse to financial support after separation.
Alimony is awarded upon separation and replaced by divorce alimony upon divorce. The criteria for calculating these measures may differ, but case law has aligned them. It has been established that alimony is granted to a spouse who lacks sufficient income to support themselves, provided that this financial incapacity is not due to their own wrongful behavior.
If there is a substantial economic disparity, alimony may not be granted if the less wealthy spouse still has enough income to support themselves. However, if the economic disparity arises from a shared decision within the couple, where one spouse has sacrificed their career to care for the family and children, alimony may be awarded. The requesting spouse must demonstrate efforts to seek employment, but inability to do so due to reasons such as health, age, job market challenges, or prolonged absence from the workforce.
The amount of alimony no longer aims to maintain the previous standard of living. Instead, it seeks to ensure economic self-sufficiency and a dignified lifestyle in relation to the social context, within the means of the obligated spouse. Various factors influence the alimony amount, including the recipient’s income, housing availability, duration of marriage, and expenses of the obligated spouse.
Notably, divorce alimony can be granted to husbands if their income is deemed inadequate, irrespective of the marriage duration. However, it must be proven that the husband’s unemployment is not due to wrongful behavior, but rather genuine efforts to find employment in a challenging job market.
In summary, the duration of marriage may affect the alimony amount, but it does not preclude eligibility for support. Even in short marriages, a spouse may be entitled to alimony if their income is inadequate. Each case is assessed individually, taking into account the specific circumstances and the judge’s discretion.
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