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child and spousal support divorced dads lawIf you are a father who is going through the divorce process, you’ll probably be concerned about your finances. In addition to dealing with the costs of the divorce itself, including legal fees and expenses related to finding new living arrangements, you’re going to need to create a new budget to determine how you can cover your ongoing expenses. In the midst of all of this, you may also have to deal with requirements to pay child support or spousal support, and you’ll want to understand when these types of payments are appropriate and how they are calculated.

The Purpose of Financial Support

Being required to pay support to your ex-spouse may seem like a punishment or penalty. However, this is usually not the reason that financial support is ordered. Instead, these payments are meant to ensure that you, your ex, and your children will all have the financial resources you need. 

Child support is paid for the benefit of children, ensuring that they will be provided for after their parents’ divorce. Each state has different laws that specify how child support obligations are calculated, but the amount of payments is usually based on the income that each parent earns, as well as the amount of parenting time children spend with each parent. While the parent who has more parenting time will usually receive child support from the other, this is not always the case. If you earn less than your ex, she could be required to pay child support to you, depending on the methods used to calculate child support in your state.

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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.

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