What is spousal support?
Also called alimony or spousal maintenance, spousal support is an amount of money that the court determines one party in a divorce should award the other. If spousal support is awarded, it depends on a number of factors regarding the marriage, each party’s assets, and the duties performed in the marriage. Because each marriage and each divorce is unique, spousal support terms vary from case to case.
Reasons spousal support is usually awarded:
- If one spouse makes a significantly higher income than the other, they might be required to pay spousal support so that the lower-earning spouse can continue a certain quality of life after the divorce.
- If one spouse was paying for the other’s education, they might be required to keep paying so that the other spouse can finish their degree.
- If one spouse was a stay-at-home parent, they might be awarded spousal support to make up for the time they could have been earning an income.
How is spousal support awarded?
If spousal support is awarded, the amount will be calculated after the division of property is complete. Once this happens, the court considers the resources and assets of each party in addition to their age, earning potential, placement of children, roles they held within the marriage (such as being a stay-at-home parent), and their overall health and wellbeing. When deciding if and how much spousal support should be awarded, the length of the marriage is a major factor. Shorter marriages usually result in less spousal support, if any. In marriages that lasted 10 years or more, alimony often includes some retirement benefits, says DivorceSource.
It’s important to note that in addition to these factors, the court also looks at any actions committed by either party that might have led to the dissolution of the marriage.
These actions could impact which party is awarded spousal support and how much.
According to DivorceNet, spousal support is usually awarded on a reoccurring basis as determined by the courts, but occasionally, it will be required to be paid in a lump sum. These lump sum payments are usually reserved for “temporary alimony,” as a means for one spouse to find a job or complete a degree that will help their career. While called “permanent alimony,” even reoccurring payments are usually still temporary. These long-term “permanent” spousal support payments are usually awarded to stay-at-home parents to reimburse them for the money they could have made in a professional role.
Is it difficult to get spousal support?
It can be, especially if the other party is insisting that they will not pay. If you are seeking spousal support, you’ll need to prove to the court that you need or deserve the additional resources that your spouse can provide. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced, compassionate legal team at your back. If you feel that you deserve spousal support to continue your education, maintain your quality of life, take care of your children, gain work experience, or another reason, we’re here to help. With many years of experience, The Zwiebel Law Firm is here to bring justice to your divorce. Contact us online at any time or call our office at 205-623-1001. You don’t have to fight alone for what you deserve!
The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
826 Columbiana Road
Birmingham, AL 35209
Phone: (205) 623-1001