How Is Spousal Support Determined?

Divorce & Family Law

There are many financial issues that need to be addressed when a couple decides to divorce. This includes how the marital estate – both assets and debts – will be divided and – if the couple has minor children – if one spouse will be paying the other spouse child support, depending on how custody is decided. In some divorces, there may also need to be a decision on whether or not one spouse will be required to pay the other spouse spousal support.

The following is a brief overview of spousal support. For more detailed information about your particular situation, contact a skilled divorce lawyer.

Types of Spousal Support

There are many factors that go into the decision by the court to award spousal support to a spouse. One of the major issues that the court will examine is if one spouse was the primary wage earner and if the other spouse will be able to maintain the lifestyle the couple had become accustomed to during their marriage.

Although each state sets its own laws regarding divorce and spousal support, generally, there are three types of spousal support the court may order a spouse to pay the other.

Temporary spousal support is usually paid only during the time the divorce proceedings are taking place. Once the divorce has reached its conclusion, the temporary spousal support will end, usually because the spouse who had been receiving the support has received their share of the marital estate and now has the assets to support themselves.

Rehabilitative spousal support is the second type. This is when the court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse support for a set period of time, giving the receiving spouse time to find work, obtain training, etc., in order to become financially independent.

Permanent or reviewable spousal support is often awarded in high-asset divorce cases. There is typically no set time period that the spouse will be paid support, however, the court can order periodic reviews to determine if either spouse’s finanical situation has changed.

Should Spousal Support Be Awarded?

In order to determine if spousal support should be awarded and, if so, which spouse will pay and which spouse will receive the support, the court will usually look at the following:

  • How long were the couple married?
  • What is the age and health of each spouse?
  • What is the difference in the earning capacity of each spouse?
  • What was the standard of living the couple had while married?
  • Which parent will any minor children the couple have live with?

Payments or Lump Sum?

Although many spousal support payments are made on a monthly basis, there are divorces where the couples will agree that the paying spouse will pay the receiving spouse in one lump sum. There are pros and cons to this and your divorce lawyer can go over both if this is an option that comes up during your divorce negotiations.

Thank you to our friends at Robinson & Hadeed for the information about spousal support.

Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C.

© 2024  The Law Offices of Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C.
29 Factory Street Nashua, New Hampshire 03060
Telephone: (603) 883-0797 | FAX: (603) 883-8723 | [email protected]

"*" indicates required fields

How Did You Hear About Us*
Privacy Policy*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.