Spousal support is money that is paid from one spouse to another upon dissolution of a marriage. In other state’s it is called “alimony.” If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on spousal support then the Judge may order that one spouse pay the other spouse support. Spousal support is designed to minimize any unfair financial consequences following divorce. For instance, one spouse may not have worked and instead raised the children while the other spouse worked during that time. A Judge will likely look to protect the spouse that worked at home. The Judge will consider the following issues when deciding how much support to grant a spouse:
- The length of the marriage
- The amount of money each spouse has contributed to the marriage
- How and to what extent the marriage has already benefited from the contribution
- Each spouse’s ability to earn money in the future
- The tax consequences to each spouse
Typically there are three types of support that a spouse might seek and that a Judge will consider ordering. They are:
- Transitional: this is given to a spouse while he/she “transitions” into a new lifestyle. This is typically given for education or training purposes.
- Compensatory: this is given when one spouse has made a significant contribution toward enhancing the other’s earning capacity during the marriage. Usually it will have happened when one spouse paid for the other’s education or training towards a career during the marriage.
- Maintenance: this is given to help a spouse maintain a standard of living that is near or similar to what the spouse enjoyed during the marriage. This support is ordered for either a specific or an indefinite period of time.