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The when, how much, and for how long of spousal support

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2021 | Spousal Support |

Oftentimes when we meet with individuals to discuss their divorce, we find that their biggest concern is their financial well-being. This is understandable. After all, there’s a lot on the line in marriage dissolution. Retirement accounts, real estate, and even personal property like jewelry can all come into play during the property division process. While these marital assets may pave the way for post-divorce financial stability, there may be another option: spousal support.

1. Should spousal support be awarded at all?

On its face, spousal support might seem like a relatively simple issue, but it’s not. In fact, it can be enormously complicated. To start, a court has to determine whether spousal support is warranted at all. Here the court will consider the factors that contributed to the divorce. This includes analyzing any potential fault for the divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment.

You might run into some legal challenges here. After all, if you’re seeking alimony then your spouse might make all kinds of wild accusations against you. Therefore, you don’t want to just be prepared to aggressively argue why the circumstances dictate that you receive spousal support. You also want to be prepared to defend yourself against claims that would affect your ability to recover the support you need and deserve.

To accomplish this task, you’ll need to have evidence. Your word is powerful, but it can be amplified if you have corroboration from other witnesses, financial records, and social media posts. Be armed with the evidence you need before going into negotiations. It might get you further than you think without the need for trial.

2. How much spousal support should be awarded?

If a court finds that you should be awarded spousal support, then its going to turn its attention the amount that you should be paid. Again, there are going to be a number of factors that come into play here. Each of the following may be taken into account:

  • Financial resources of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • The spouse’s ages
  • The spouse’s physical and mental conditions
  • Monetary and non-monetary contributions to the family made by each spouse
  • Each spouse’s earnings capacity
  • How choices with regard to family life affected each spouse’s earnings capacity
  • Sacrifices made by each spouse for the betterment of the other, such as working more hours to support a spouse’s education

Again, you’ll want to be armed with evidence that justifies the amount of support you’re seeking. Consider how you lived during the course of your marriage and what you gave up in order to support your family. Take into account what you could have done with your career and your finances if you had never gotten married in the first place. Obtain your spouse’s pay stubs and be aware of what he or she is worth in the workforce. This information can be powerful in your case.

3. How long with spousal support last?

The factors discussed above will come into play here, too, but there are also other considerations. As a result, the court may order one of many types of alimony, including the following:

  • Temporary alimony where payments are made during separation but prior to the finalization of divorce.
  • Rehabilitative spousal support where payments are set to last for a specific period of time and are aimed at ensuring that the receiving spouse has the resources needed to become educated and/or trained to re-enter the workforce.
  • Permanent spousal support, which typically comes out of long-term marriages and can last indefinitely

Of course, there may be events that lead to the cessation of spousal support, such as remarriage, so you’ll want to ensure that you know what kind of actions could affect your award.

Legal assistance dealing with spousal support issues

These matters can be complicated, but spousal support can be a real financial lifeline for you post-divorce. As such, you need to be aggressive in protecting your interests. Fortunately, you don’t have to confront these matters on your own. Instead, you can seek legal assistance from a legal team that knows how to fight for what is right.