3 Things To Know About Spousal Support In Your Divorce

If you feel your relationship can't be saved, a divorce may be the best option for your family and personal wellbeing. Throughout the divorce, you and your partner will have to sort out numerous details, including whether either of you receives spousal support.

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is designed to prevent one spouse from experiencing economic hardship related to the divorce. It can be awarded as a one-time lump sum or as an ongoing monthly payment. Here are a few things you need to know about spousal support.

1. Spousal Support Depends on the Couple's Situation

The methods used to calculate spousal support take into account numerous factors. There isn't a specific set of guidelines that the court will use; instead, it will look at the following factors:

  • The length of your marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • Each spouse's physical ability to work
  • The earning potential of each spouse
  • The standard of living during your marriage

Generally, spouses leaving longer marriages have a better chance of receiving alimony than those departing from shorter unions. Spouses who don't have a reliable way to support themselves or who are not physically able to work are also more likely to be awarded alimony. 

2. Spousal Support Doesn't Last Forever

It's a misconception that you'll need to pay (or that you'll receive) spousal support for the rest of your life. Instead, you'll receive or pay the support for a specified period that varies based on the details of your situation. The length of time a spouse receives spousal support should give them enough time to get back on their feet and figure out a way to support themselves.

For example, assume that one spouse doesn't have any education or skills that enable them to earn enough money to support themselves. The court might order the other spouse to pay spousal support for the length of time it will take the spouse to attend college and get a job.

Another reason that spousal support may end is if the spouse chooses to remarry. The spouse will now have another individual to help support them and maintain their standard of living.

3. Spousal Support Can Continue After the Payor's Death

If the spouse who is paying alimony dies before the court-ordered end date for the spousal support, this doesn't necessarily mean that the payments stop. Instead, if the spouse leaves behind assets that are capable of supporting the alimony payments, their estate may have to continue making the payments.  

For more information, contact a divorce attorney at a firm like Bray & Johnson Law Firm.

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