What Divorcing Parties Should Know About Spousal Support

Also known as alimony, this form of financial support is still being ordered when appropriate. For what divorcing parties need to know about spousal support, read on for the facts.

Permanent spousal support is seldom granted anymore. Instead, temporary or rehabilitative support may be in order. That gives the spouse an opportunity to gain job training or complete their education. However, spouses that are older or not in good health may be ordered to receive permanent spousal support.

The potential to be awarded spousal support depends a lot on the ability of the other spouse to pay it. The spouse ordered to pay support should demonstrate that they can afford to do so. If children are involved, they come first as far as the court is concerned. If the spouse cannot afford to pay both spousal and child support, the spousal support may not be ordered.

Temporary spousal support can be ordered as soon as the party no longer lives under the same roof. Both parties will be asked to submit financial disclosure information to help the judge make a ruling. If temporary support is ordered, it may continue to apply as the final decree is ordered unless the providing spouse protests.

Although many couples file for a no-fault divorce, the parties can always state fault if they so desire. If they do state fault and the wrongdoing of one spouse is proven, it can affect the spousal support issue. In other words, a cheating spouse could be punished in this manner depending on other factors.

When the receiving party remarries, that act commonly brings spousal support to an end. However, cohabitation is another issue. If you are paying spousal support to a spouse that is living with a romantic love interest, speak to a lawyer. The judge may determine that the relationship is providing enough financial support and no further spousal support is needed.

If you are in doubt as to the spousal support issue, ask for a small, token amount to be ordered. Your spouse is unlikely to object to a small support obligation, and it gives you the opportunity to ask for more in the future. For instance, if your spouse can only afford to pay a small amount now, their financial situation could improve in the future.

Don't try to substitute spousal support for child support. Some parties ask for extra child support in lieu of spousal support to avoid taxes on the income. Spousal support is taxable and child support is not. The IRS considers this type of move fraud, and the penalties can be harsh.

To find out more about spousal support, contact a family law firm. 

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