When one spouse requests spousal support during a divorce, the court must determine if it will be awarded, for how much and for how long. The spouse requesting spousal support will naturally want to maximize the amount and the other spouse will want to limit or eliminate spousal support altogether. Spouses on either side of such a dispute should be familiar with how the divorce court considers requests for spousal support.
Spousal support, which may also be referred to as alimony, may be awarded in certain situations and circumstances. When deciding whether or not to award spousal support, the divorce court considers the standard of living established during the marriage. The court also asks whether one spouse has enough property and income to provide for the other spouse’s reasonable needs. Of course, the court must also consider whether the paying spouse has enough property and income to provide for their own needs.
Typically, a court determines that alimony is necessary if there is a big difference in the economic resources of the two parties. A typical case might involve one spouse who has a well-paying job while the other was a stay-at-home parent during the marriage. Even after a generous settlement of the marital property, the spouse who doesn’t have a lucrative career will be left at a distinct disadvantage without spousal support.
The goal of the divorce court is to make an alimony award that is fair in the circumstances. and will help the recipient spouse achieve financial independence following the divorce. Any alimony award ends if either spouse dies, the recipient spouse remarries, or after a time agreed on by the parties or decided upon by the court.
Though alimony awards are intended to be just and equitable for the divorcing spouses, this issue can spark strong disagreement. It helps for both spouses to understand the process going into it.