Posted on April 23, 2018
If you are facing a divorce, you may have concerns about what your financial future looks like, especially if you have been dependent upon your spouse’s income. If so, speak to a family law attorney, as you may be entitled to an award of spousal maintenance.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
During the divorce process, the court may make an order regarding a sum of money, which the spouse with the higher income must pay to the spouse with the lower income. This is known as spousal maintenance or alimony. It will usually only be awarded, however, if one spouse does not have sufficient funds to support themselves.
The amount of spousal maintenance will vary from case to case. Here are a few factors courts will take in to consideration:
- The age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouses;
- The length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient;
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage;
- The length of the marriage;
- The need for support by the recipient spouse; and
- The ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and still support himself or herself.
In short term marriages courts might award short-term alimony, but are unlikely to award long-term spousal support. Once an appropriate sum is decided upon, the court will then determine the term of support based upon the length of the marriage.
Generally speaking, spousal maintenance payments stop after the death or remarriage of the recipient. In few circumstances, spousal maintenance must be paid for the duration of the payer spouse’s lifetime, such as cases where the marriage has been long-term, and/or the recipient spouse has some sort of disability.
The law does recognize that there are certain situations in which continued financial support is necessary. Notably, if one spouse is unable to work due to age or poor health, the court will take this in to account when determining if spousal maintenance is required. To apply for maintenance or to terminate current payments, please consult a family law attorney.
Additionally, if you have any children with your ex-partner, you must ensure their needs are taken care of. Parents must support their children financially – something known as child support. Child support differs from spousal maintenance, as it relates specifically to the needs of your child and it aims to help alleviate the costs of bringing up a child on your own. We have a dedicated blog post on child support, where you can learn more about the topic.
Please be advised that every divorce case is different and unique. For information on your case, please consult with a family law attorney. Pollart Miller LLC would be happy to share our expertise and help you achieve the best resolution for your situation.