Spousal Support

Just because a marriage comes to and end does not mean that all obligations and responsibilities between the two parties ends. Because quite often one spouse has higher financial earnings than the other, it can be difficult for the spouse with a lower income to regain their footing and recreate their life post-divorce.

Because of this, the courts have created something called spousal support, which determines that in most cases, one former spouse is legally obligated to provide financial assistance to the other.

What is spousal support?
Spousal support is the legal obligation for a person to provide support in the form of financial assistance to their spouse. Sometimes this can apply before a divorce or separation, but is usually provided after. This payment is also referred to as alimony.

What is the purpose of spousal support?
Alimony was created as a way to help alleviate the economic affects a divorce can create. For example, if one spouse made 90% of the income for the household, after a divorce, the other spouse will experience a severe hardship. With spousal support, the spouse who did not have a large income will be supported for a set period of time so they can have the time to generate more income to support themselves.

Who qualifies to receive spousal support?
Any person who has been married and has a significantly lower income than their former spouse can qualify to receive spousal support, also known as alimony.

Spousal support is intended to help the person with a lower income re-establish a life with the ability to meet all of their needs.

Who is required to pay spousal support?
While many people are familiar with spousal support being paid by the man to his former wife, many times the woman will be required to pay support to her former husband.

How is it determined someone should pay?
Sometimes the requirement to pay spousal support is determined by a previously made agreement between the two spouses. Other times the court itself can make the decision that one spouse must pay financial support to the other.

How is the amount of support determined?
Many factors are taken into account when determining the amount of spousal support that is to be paid. These factors can include:

  • The emotional well-being and financial state of both former spouses
  • Their standard of living prior to the divorce
  • The payer’s ability to support both themselves as well as their former spouse
  • How long the marriage was

 

How long can someone receive spousal support for?
Although the length of alimony is determined based on individual factors, regardless of those factors it can end under a set of specific circumstances. Spousal support will generally end if the recipient remarries.

If the payer dies, the recipient may still receive spousal support that is paid from the payer’s estate and even their life insurance.

If you are considering the possibility of divorce, or you are already divorced and would like to discuss your options for spousal support, you’ll want to discuss your circumstances with a skilled attorney in your area who can make the process easy for you to understand.