Family Law: 3 Critical Things To Know About Spousal Support When Divorcing

The separation or divorce process is usually emotionally challenging. But did you know that it's also financially draining? Most spouses assume this only happens due to child support expenses, but the process could also pose financial problems even when children aren't involved. Even if you don't have children yet and have decided to divorce, you are expected to offer spousal support, also known as alimony. Unfortunately, most spouses don't give this aspect the seriousness it deserves when divorcing. This happens perhaps because they don't understand the aspects of spousal support. It's, therefore, important to know these three things about spousal support when filing for divorce.

How It's Usually Determined

It's usually hard for spouses to agree on how they handle spousal support. As a result, this becomes a legal issue where the court decides how much a spouse should pay. The court usually considers several things before determining the amount to spend on spousal support. Of course, certain factors will influence the court's decision, but it does everything to ensure fairness. For instance, the court will consider your income and assets. You will likely pay more on spousal support if you earn a higher income and own several assets. Other factors the court considers when calculating spousal support include your health condition and lifestyle.

How Long It Can Last

Even if the court decides you are the one to pay spousal support, it doesn't mean you will do it forever. Several factors determine the length of the payment period, just to ensure the process is fair to you both. If you are required to offer spousal support in the form of a property, you may perhaps have to do it once. This also happens if you decide to make a lump sum payment. However, you may need to meet the alimony requirements monthly, biweekly, or even weekly. The payment period could be longer if you have been married for several years. The court allows you to stop spousal support when your ex-spouse becomes financially stable or dies.

Why It's Necessary to Pay

Some assume they are no longer responsible for spousal support once they divorce. However, it's false because you are still expected to meet some of your ex-spouse's expenses. But why do you have to pay? You simply pay alimony to help your ex-spouse maintain their lifestyle, perhaps until they can do it themselves. If you don't willingly offer them support, the court will definitely order you to do so. Where possible, you shouldn't defy the court order because you become liable to hefty penalties and fines.  

For more information, contact a local family law attorney