Spousal Support

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

Only one in six divorces discusses spousal support.  It’s no longer an automatic assumption that spousal support will be granted.  Gender is no longer a factor in awarding spousal support, nor is marital misconduct to be considered.  It’s usually a temporary order to help maintain the standard of living for the family and give the spouse seeking support a chance to increase their job skills and emotionally stabilize the family unit during the divorce procedure.

There are several factors involved in the decision if whether spousal support needs   awarded.  The court will take into consideration the standard of living the couple enjoyed and the length of the marriage.  If the court feels spousal support is needed, it can be ordered for either spouse for any amount and any period of time if it feels it is needed.

Other factors taken into consideration are; if the spouse asking for support has a child that makes it unreasonable for them to work outside the home, the length of time it would take for the supported spouse to learn the skills needed for a position outside the home and any educational classes that is needed in order to find full-time employment.  The age and health, length of marriage, and the emotional health of the spouse asking for support are also considered.

Other factors include the ability of the other spouse to pay, the hardship for the paying spouse, or a severe decline in their standard of living that also will be taken into account.

Permanent support or alimony is granted for a short time after a divorce to allow the spouse time to get back on their feet both emotionally and financially.  The length of time is determined by the court, but usually is half the amount of time of the marriage.  Consideration can also be given to spouse’s who helped educate and aided in the beginning and building of a business instead of pursuing their own career goals or education.

Alimony can be paid in a lump sum, monthly or weekly installments, or in real estate or assets.  Terms need to be discussed as to tax benefits, will and inheritance terms, and enforcement issues.  A change of conditions can also affect paying or receiving such as death, loss of income, cohabitation or remarriage.

In today’s economy, most of us have two income families.  Spousal support or alimony will be looked at with that in mind also.

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