What you need to know about spousal support

On Behalf of | May 8, 2022 | Divorce |

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is one of the things you may have to deal with after a divorce. How is the amount of support arrived at, and how long do these payments last?

It’s a question many have, and the answer depends on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce. Below is what you need to know.

How much spousal support will you pay?

Several factors are considered when determining the amount of spousal support. They include your ability to pay, the needs of your spouse, their age, and health, among others. In the absence of a legally binding agreement such as a prenup or if you and your spouse aren’t able to agree on an amount, the court will decide what is reasonable. The obligation to pay is placed on the spouse who has greater financial resources.

How long does spousal support last?

Spousal support can be temporary, as the divorce proceedings are ongoing, or more permanent when the court issues the orders. However, that does not mean that you will pay support forever. Instead, the judgment will determine the duration of the spousal support.

The law is not so direct regarding the period, but the length of the marriage heavily weighs on how long the spousal support will last. For instance, support for a decades-long marriage will stretch over a longer period than a two-year marriage. The death or remarriage of your former spouse will also end spousal support.

Spousal support can be modified

The court can modify the amount or even terminate spousal support depending on new developments or significant changes in circumstances on either side.

If you are finding it hard to meet your spousal support obligations, you need to know what to do. You can’t just stop making payments or paying less without having the order modified. That could lead to fines, wage garnishment and other consequences.