Payments that a person makes to their ex-spouse are traditionally called alimony. However, because of that words negative connotation, many states now call such payments maintenance or spousal support.
Recently, most states have cut back greatly on permanent spousal support, which is where a person must make life-long payments to their ex-spouse. In the states that grant permanent spousal support, the courts only do so if there are certain circumstances like a long marriage where one spouse earned considerably less income than the other.
States that are more likely to grant permanent spousal support include Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.
Instead, most states now give the spouse receiving spousal support a certain amount of time to become self-sufficient by going to school or professional training. States may also grant temporary spousal support while the spouse receiving support takes care of young children.
Traditionally, states would limit or prohibit spousal support if the spouse that needed support was at fault in the separation or divorce. With the creation of no-fault divorce, now more than half of U.S. states do not take fault into consideration when awarding spousal support.
In other states like Georgia and North Carolina, however, behavior such as adultery, abandonment, and marital misconduct are grounds for limiting or prohibiting spousal support.
Not only do the laws governing spousal support differ from state to state, but these laws also change over time based on other aspects of family law. If you are going through a separation or divorce, a family law attorney can help you get the spousal support you deserve.
Last Modified: 05-24-2017 03:56 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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