What Is Spousal Support And Why You Need It

When a married couple decides to end their marriage and pursue a divorce, the judge presiding over the case has the discretion to determine whether or not to grant “alimony” or spousal support to one of the exes.  

This judgment might be predicated on an agreement between the exes’ former wives, or it could be predicated on a decision issued by the court itself.

However, some parents do not know what spousal support is and how important it is. As a result, they become financially challenged and even burdened until their last years.

Many individuals are confused about the possible connections that might be made between alimony and child support.  The basics of spousal support will be covered in the next sections.

What Is Spousal Support?

The purpose of spousal support is to give a stable income to a spouse who does not earn a salary or earns a pay that is lower than the other spouse to mitigate any unfair economic effects that may result from the dissolution of a marriage. 

It is possible that the ex-spouse gave up a career to take care of the kids, and now they need some time to retrain so that they may find a gainful job and support themselves. This line of thinking contributes to the total amount overall.

It is possible that one of the purposes of alimony, particularly in households with higher incomes, is to assist a spouse in maintaining the same level of life they enjoyed during the time they were married.

How Do You Process Spousal Support After Separation?

When assessing whether or not to award spousal support, the courts have a great deal of leeway, in contrast to the situation with child support, which is imposed in most states according to very specific economic parameters. 

If it is ordered, the judge with jurisdiction over proceedings concerning family law will also decide how much it will be and how long it will last, assuming it is ordered.

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, which is the foundation for many states’ spousal support regulations, make the following considerations recommended for the courts to take into account when making decisions about alimony awards:

  • The former partners’ ages, physical conditions, emotional states, and financial situations are considered.
  • The amount of time that will need to pass before the receiver can become self-sufficient through education or training
  • The couple’s lifestyle during their time together as husband and wife
  • The number of years spent married
  • The capacity of the spouse who makes the payments to assist the other partner while also providing for herself or herself

Adjustments To The Amount Of Alimony Payable

Alimony orders often do not change from one year to the next, in contrast to child support payments, which are subject to sporadically occurring cost-of-living adjustments.

Even if the ex-spouse wins huge bonuses at work or has a significant rise in taxable income; the former spouse is not going to profit from that gain in the same way that a child may benefit from an increase in child support payments.

On the other side, a paying spouse has the right to ask the court for a reduction in the amount of alimony they are required to pay if they experience a severe decline in income to the point that they can no longer afford to pay the required amount.

Alimony payments might be reduced once the family court judge reviews both parties’ tax returns, but the judge might not be persuaded to do so.

How Long Should You Pay For Spousal Support?

After knowing what spousal support is, parents also want to learn how long it should be paid. Since the legalization of divorce, significant changes have taken place all across the world. 

The evolution of society has led to a rise in the number of cases in which courts impose alimony for “rehabilitative” reasons. That is, solely for the amount of time required for the recipient spouse (of any gender) to get more training to become financially independent.

However, this does not indicate that a court will never issue an order for long-term spousal maintenance, particularly in situations where one of the spouses is elderly, incapacitated, or sick. 

If the divorce judgment does not include a date by which spousal support will be terminated, payments are required to continue until the court rules otherwise. The majority of awards are null and void if the recipient is again. Spousal support ends at the death of the payer. 

In situations where it is doubtful that the receiver spouse would be able to seek gainful work owing to factors such as age or health, the court may order support to be paid from the payer’s estate or the payer’s profits’ life insurance policy.

The Execution Of Child Support And Alimony Orders

It may be challenging to forecast the amount of alimony awarded, but it is much more difficult to gauge whether or not the paying spouse will comply with a support order. Enforcement of alimony is not the same as enforcement of child support, which includes the “teeth” of a wage garnishment, liens, and even arrests in some cases.

An ex-spouse due alimony has access to the same legal recourses available for executing any other court order, given that the court has the authority to provide alimony payments. Alimony recipients can bring a contempt action against the payor to compel payment.

Consult Our Spousal Support Lawyers

Chapman McAlpine is a family law firm dedicated to providing personalized and efficient representation for all our clients. Our team is skilled in negotiating alimony agreements and can offer guidance on what to expect during the process.

Let us advocate for your financial stability as you navigate this difficult time. Reach us today!

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