How Do I Know If Spousal Support Will Be a Factor in My Divorce?

 Posted on August 13, 2020 in Divorce Issues

Alimony attorneysIf you’re considering divorce or are planning to end your marriage, you may need to prepare for the possibility that you will have to pay financial support to your spouse. On the other hand, you may be able to receive this type of support if you earn a lower income than your spouse. These payments may be referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance, or spousal support, and they are usually paid by a spouse who earns a significantly higher income than their former partner. Understanding whether spousal support will play a role in your divorce can help you make sure you will have the financial resources you need as you move on to the next stage of your life.

How Is Alimony Determined?

The purpose of spousal support is to make sure that once a divorce is complete, both spouses will be able to continue living at the standard they were used to during their marriage. In some cases, each spouse will be able to support themselves on their own income, and alimony won’t be necessary. However, if one spouse earned the majority of the family's income, or if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent, spousal maintenance may be awarded to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can meet their needs.

The spouse who expects to receive alimony will usually need to make the case that these types of payments are needed. Depending on the laws in your state, a judge may look at different factors to decide whether to award spousal support. They may consider each spouse’s ability to earn an income and support themselves, whether one spouse remained out of the workforce or gave up career opportunities so they could take care of family responsibilities, whether one spouse helped the other further their education or career, and the amount of time a spouse may need to obtain education or training, seek employment, and become self-supporting.

If a judge decides that alimony is appropriate, they will then need to determine the amount of the payments and how long they will be paid. The laws regarding the calculation of spousal support vary from state to state, with some states using specific formulas based on the income both parties earn and others giving judges the discretion to decide on an amount that is appropriate in a particular situation. Laws regarding the duration of spousal maintenance payments can also vary, but alimony will usually be paid for a certain percentage of the time a couple was married.

How Will COVID-19 Affect My Spousal Support Payments?

As with most other aspects of family law cases, the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on spousal maintenance awards in ongoing divorce cases, as well as those that have already been completed. If you’ve lost your job or suffered financial setbacks, you should be sure the court is aware of these issues so that you won’t be required to make payments that would make it impossible for you to meet your own needs. If you have an existing spousal support order, you may need to ask for modifications based on your current financial circumstances.

Contact a Family Law Attorney

If you are currently going through a divorce, or if you’ve experienced changes in your income or finances, you’ll want to work with a divorce lawyer who can help you determine your legal options. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can reach a resolution to your case that will allow you to maintain financial stability while supporting yourself and your family.



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