Spousal support, also known as alimony, is financial support provided to one's spouse. Spousal support may be temporarily awarded during the divorce process, and awarded after the divorce to help an ex-spouse with his or her support.
The court considers several factors, including:
- Past relations and conduct of the parties
- Length of the marriage
- Abilities of the parties to work
- Source and amount of property to be awarded to the parties
- Parties’ ages
- The abilities of the parties to pay alimony
- Present situation of the parties
- Needs of the parties
- Parties’ health
- Prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others
- Contributions of the parties to the joint estate
- General principles of equity
There is no rigid formula for determining spousal support, and a court may give different weight to each factor. A judgment of divorce must either award spousal support, or state that neither party is entitled to spousal support, or where silent as to either, reserving spousal support for a future determination by the court.
You will have two options:
- Non-modifiable spousal support, which cannot be changed, increased or decreased once the divorce is final.
- Modifiable spousal support, which can be increased or decreased in amount and duration based on a change in circumstances of the parties. If a court determines based on the factors that spousal support is justified, it can only award modifiable spousal support. Additionally, there are various tax consequences to structuring spousal support payments.
We are highly knowledgeable in providing you the necessary information about the benefits of non-modifiable and modifiable spousal support and evaluating the most beneficial tax consequences so that you can make an informed decision and to negotiate spousal support as part of an overall resolution of the financial issues involved in the divorce process. We are ready to assist you in understanding and protecting your rights.
We have experience in representing both men and women in spousal support cases, and our extensive experience puts you in the best position to achieving the optimal resolution. To learn more about spousal support and the risks and advantages with spousal support options, contact any of our family law specialists.
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