Spousal Support

What is Spousal Support?

When you are going through a divorce, or even just starting to consider whether divorce is the best decision for you, fear of being unable to take care of yourself may be a serious issue.  This is especially true if you were not the financial breadwinner in the relationship.  In most cases, spousal support, or alimony, is available and there are many different types of support that may be appropriate in your situation.

What is the purpose of Spousal Support?

The purpose is to limit any unfair economic effects of divorce by providing continuous income to a spouse who is either unemployed, or earning lower wages than the other.  Another purpose can be to allow one spouse to continue the standard of living he or she was used to during the marriage. Unlike with child support, most states do not have very specific guidelines regarding spousal support.  The decisions regarding the amount of support and how long it should be received is left up to the discretion of the court.  In some situations, a spouse can receive more than one kind of support at the same time.

Types of Spousal Support

Spousal support is either short term or long term.  In some cases, financial support may be more necessary immediately after the separation to support the lower-earning spouse while the divorce is pending. In that situation, temporary support may be awarded.

In cases where the marriage only lasted for a short time, many judges will order short-term support that lasts only a few years, that ends on a specific date.  Rehabilitative support is a specific kind of short-term support designed to give a dependent spouse the opportunity to get back into the workforce. Rehabilitative support will end when the spouse is able to return to work, and the recipient must remain diligent in obtaining work. Long-Term or Permanent Support is rarely awarded, and usually only in cases where the judge concludes that the dependent spouse most likely will not return to the workforce.

Termination of Spousal Support

Even when a support order does not include a specific termination date, spousal support will end if the recipient dies or remarries.  In some states, if the recipient cohabitates with another person the support will end.

If you have questions regarding alimony or spousal support, or any other divorce issues, contact attorney Brad J. Latta online, or by calling (205) 998-5570.


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