There are several different names that may be used to refer to the support one former spouse may pay to the other following a divorce. Terms such as spousal support, spousal maintenance and alimony all may be used to refer to generally the same thing which can be a major concern for divorcing spouses to understand.
Spousal support may be requested during divorce by one spouse and it can either be negotiated and agreed upon by the spouses or if one of the spouses contests spousal support or they cannot agree, the family law court can help determine spousal support. Each state follows certain guidelines to calculate spousal support. Spousal support may be appropriate, for instance, for the spouse that remained in the home to care for it and the children.
The family law court evaluates a variety of factors when determining when, for how much and for how long to grant a spousal support request. When determining spousal support, the family law court will look at the needs of the requesting spouse versus the other spouse’s ability to pay spousal support; the age and health of the spouse seeking spousal support; the earning capacities of the spouses; the length of the marriage; the impact on the children; and the conduct of the parties during the marriage. Spousal support may be granted for different durations and come to an end for different reasons the spouses should be familiar with.
At times, spousal support can be a hot button issue during a divorce but armed with how it works, the divorcing spouses are in a better position to protect themselves and their interests. As always, the family law process provides valuable tools and resources to help them resolve their divorce-related concerns such as spousal support that they should always be aware of.