What You Need to Know About Spousal Support
One of the major concerns that you may have before or during your divorce is spousal support. Also known as alimony, spousal support is intended to make the financial situation of both spouses fair so that one is not at an economic disadvantage. If you earn more money than your spouse, you may wonder if you will have to pay spousal support and, if so, how much.
It is not necessarily an easy question to answer. In the first place, the laws governing spousal support vary by state. In the second place, there are many factors that go into the determination. Here are the answers to some of the most important questions you may have about spousal support.
1. Spousal Support Is Not a Foregone Conclusion
You and your spouse may negotiate an alimony agreement yourselves, or you may take the matter to court and allow the judge to make a determination. Keep in mind, however, that spousal support is different from child support. In other words, although you have a parental obligation to support your children financially until they become old enough to be self-sufficient, the law does not presume such an obligation to an ex-spouse. Alimony determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. Depending on your situation, the court may not deem spousal support necessary or appropriate.
2. The Determination Is Based on a Number of Factors
These factors may vary based on state laws. They usually include considerations such as your spouse’s lifestyle before the divorce, your ability to pay, and your spouse’s need. The amount of time that you were married is also frequently a consideration. The court will typically also take your age and condition of health into account, as well as that of your spouse.
3. There Are Different Types of Spousal Support
When it comes to ordering you to pay alimony, the court has several different options. Though it is more common to order monthly spousal support payments, the court may also order you to pay it in one large lump sum. It is possible for the court to order permanent alimony, but this is relatively rare. Usually, the order for spousal support includes an end date, or else the obligation ends when certain conditions are met, such as your spouse’s remarriage.
Though spousal support may be a primary concern, the court may not make a decision on it until late in the divorce process. Rather than worry about it beforehand, it may be more constructive to consult with a lawyer regarding what the obligation is likely to be. You can call a law office to arrange a time to speak with a family lawyer in Bloomington, IL.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and spousal support.