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Spousal Support Restrictions

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What Are Some Restrictions on Spousal Support?

Spousal support may be required in some divorce or legal separation lawsuits. However, spousal support (alimony) is generally restricted to a person’s “reasonable needs.” Therefore, it is usually only to be used for expenses calculated for basic needs. Luxury or unnecessary items generally are not included in the calculations.

Also, spousal support may sometimes be restricted only for marriages that were of “long duration”. Most states define this as at least 5 years.

Can Spousal Support Be Changed or Terminated?

Definitely. Spousal support often ends on a date determined by the court before payments even begin. Spousal support may be terminated or ended for a number of reasons, such as:

  • The party receiving the payment has begun cohabiting with another person
  • The paying party is facing significant financial hardships
  • The recipient party has begun making sufficient income to support themselves
  • The paying party has become incapacitated

Spousal support can also be changed or modified for reasons similar to those given above. Recalculation of spousal support may be needed for special circumstances or “significant life changes” that might affect the payments.

What If Spousal Support Terms Are Violated?

Violations of spousal support terms and conditions can lead to legal consequences, including:

  • A contempt order from the court
  • Negative affects on credit scores
  • Negative affects on other rights and privileges

Missed spousal support payments are generally tracked by the court. Over time, these can add up and may lead to consequences such as a lien being placed on the person’s property.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Spousal Support?

Spousal support can often be a complex subject and may require professional assistance. You may wish to hire a divorce lawyer in your area if you need help filing for spousal support or getting an existing order modified. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice to help you resolve your support needs as necessary.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-15-2014 11:13 AM PST

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