What Is Spousal Support?

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What Is Spousal Support?

In a family law setting, spousal support may be issued in certain divorce or separation cases. Normally, spousal support may be required when one party is more financially stable than the other. Also, a support award may be more forthcoming where one party has contributed in certain ways to the relationship, such as acting as a homemaker, providing career/educational advancements, or contributing property during the relationship.

What Is Alimony?

Spousal support is also known as alimony. Of course, state laws will vary regarding spousal support terms, and each case of spousal support is evaluated separately on an individual basis. Spousal support or alimony is mainly awarded to the spouse who makes less money or is the stay at home spouse and the support is given to the spouse for a specific period of time until the recipient spouse becomes financially stable and more financially secure.

Alimony is based on who earned more money during the marriage and the role of each spouse. Alimony can come in different forms:

How Is Spousal Support Received?

Several steps must be taken before you can receive spousal support:

What Does Spousal Support Cover?

Generally speaking, spousal support is only intended to cover basic provisions that are needed to help the ex-spouse get "started" on their feet again after the divorce/separation. Thus, spousal support is intended for expenses like food, clothing, lodging, and basic travel. It is not intended to cover luxury items such as jewelry or vacation time. If needed, the parties can work out a spousal support agreement beforehand in a prenuptial agreement.

Do All Divorces Involve Spousal Support?

Not all divorces involve spousal support, especially if both spouses have stable incomes and can cover their own basic needs. Only 10-15% of all divorces include spousal support as part of the divorce decree.

When Does Spousal Support End?

Spousal support may end:

Spousal support can sometimes result in legal disputes, especially when it comes to termination of the support. In many cases, a separate proceeding may be needed to resolve disputes over termination of spousal support.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Spousal Support Issues?

Obtaining or modifying a spousal support order can often involve many different legal principles and concepts. You may need to hire a divorce lawyer if you have any concerns or issues involving spousal support. Specific family laws will vary by state, but a lawyer in your area can help you by providing advice and representing you in a court of law.

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Last Modified: 09-29-2016 03:45 PM PDT

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