When a couple divorces, one spouse is sometimes entitled to a form of spousal support, which may vary significantly depending on the nature of the marriage and the resources that the couple holds within the marriage.
Spousal support is not one-size-fits all, so it is not possible to know how large your own spousal support may ultimately be. If you expect spousal support to figure into your own divorce, or if you simply are not sure, don't hesitate to speak with an experienced divorce attorney. Not only can an attorney help you assess your own circumstances and understand the likely outcomes of your divorce in many areas, this legal guidance protects your rights while you travel through this difficult season.
Courts consider a number of factors before awarding spousal support, and may allow the paying party to choose between several different options when paying support, such as regular ongoing payments or a lump sum payment.
Factors considered in an alimony award
While some aspects of a divorce operate under fairly strict guidelines, such as child support, courts generally enjoy the freedom to use their discretion when awarding spousal support. Depending on the opinion of the court and compelling arguments from either party, two couples with similar circumstances may receive very different spousal support decisions.
Courts may consider many different factors present in a marriage before making an award, such as
- the duration of the marriage itself
- the standard of living that the couple enjoyed during the marriage
- the ability of the receiving spouse to provide for him- or herself
- the emotional, physical and financial state of the receiving spouse
- the steps a receiving spouse must take to reach self-sufficiency, such as education or training
- the ability of the paying spouse to continue to provide for the receiving spouse
In some cases, a court may order a short-term form of spousal support intended to enable the other spouse to reach self-sufficiency, if the court believes this is possible and reasonable.
Understanding your rights regarding spousal support
If you do not understand your rights, it is very difficult to defend and protect them. Do not wait to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can examine your circumstances and help you protect yourself and the ones you love during this difficult season.
Once you understand how your circumstances affect these issues, you can confidently pursue a fair resolution to your divorce and begin your new life on the other side in a healthier, more secure position.