Spousal Support: What You Need to Know
There are many factors a court considers when deciding whether to order spousal support.
When a married couple gets a divorce, the court may award spousal support to one of the former spouses. This is based either on an agreement between the couple or a decision by the court itself. This is separate from the division of marital property and is decided on a case-by-case basis. The purpose of spousal support is to level the playing field between the parties. An additional purpose is to help a spouse continue the standard of living they had during marriage despite changes to income due to the divorce. This is especially important when one of the parties has not worked or earned an income for many years or there is a big difference between the incomes of the spouses. Spousal support is not to be confused with child support. Unlike child support, which in most states follows very specific monetary guidelines, courts have broad discretion in determining whether to award spousal support and, if so, how much and for how long. In other words, spousal support is issued on a case-by-case basis, and each case will be different depending on the marriage. There are several factors that the court will use when making the support determination, including:l ● The earning capacity of each spouse ● The assets and property owned by each person ● Whether one party is significantly involved in debt ● Whether the parties were engaged in a shared business ● Each party’s contribution to the relationship (for instance, as a homemaker, or in terms of joint careers/education) ● Various other factors, such as mental and physical health conditions If you are wondering whether you will receive or pay spousal support, you will need to gather financial documents and speak with an attorney. In a consultation, the attorney can look at the numbers and think of possible scenarios to calculate potential spousal support amounts. Don’t guess, call us to find out.
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