how-spousal-support

How Spousal Support Is Determined

The goal of divorce is to start over, live independently, and come to a conclusion that is fair. Sometimes it is necessary for one of the parties to pay spousal support (often referred to as alimony) to the other party for a period of time after the divorce is over. Either party can be ordered to pay spousal support to the other, so it is important to understand how it is determined and what the Court will review when a request for support is made.

Several factors are examined when a Court determines whether spousal maintenance is warranted, and in what amount. The factors given consideration include the following four things:

  • How likely it is that the party asking for support is able to make it on their own without the financial assistance of their ex-spouse. Sometimes this means the Court will look at whether both spouses are working and if so how their salaries compare to each other. It is possible the Court would require that one of the parties seek employment at a higher salary range if their educational and work experience background show they are currently working below their earning capacity.
  • If the current employment of the parties is in line with their educational backgrounds, the Court may award support for a time that allows the parties to go back to school so a higher paying job can be obtained.
  • If the parties are used to a certain standard of living, the Court will attempt to allow those parties to continue living the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. This could require one spouse to pay the other a significant amount in support, or mean that the property division is such that the value of assets awarded one spouse is large enough to maintain a certain lifestyle.
  • The length of the marriage is also taken into account when a Court makes an award of spousal support.

If your case has other pieces of evidence not included in the above, the Court will also take those things into account. We can help by identifying which things the Court needs to know in order to make an accurate decision. Call us today for help.
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