Is Spousal Support Required?
Spousal support, also commonly referred to as alimony, is straightforward idea with an often very complicated execution. The idea–that one ex-spouse gives money to the other after a divorce for a determined period of time to cover living expenses–is easy to understand. The execution of that idea, which usually boils down to how much, and for how long, is where the road gets bumpy.
But a question some may stop and ask themselves is, “Is spousal support required?”
The answer to that question, unsurprisingly, depends on a variety of factors.
Collaborative Or Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse are going through either a collaborative divorce process, or an uncontested divorce, then there will definitely be a conversation about spousal support. Whether both spouses have that conversation face-to-face, or through their respective attorneys, it will be decided on.
In these types of divorces, it is possible for both parties to agree that neither needs or wants financial support. This is most common when each spouse is financially independent and/or doesn’t want the hassle and emotional strain of dealing with their ex about financial matters after the divorce.
If the decision is made and agreed upon that spousal support is not required, than a judge will almost always respect that decision and not impose spousal support for either spouse.
Income Disparity And Contested Divorce
On the flip side of the divorce equation, it is often the case that one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse, and the spouse earning less (or no) income will require financial support after the divorce to ensure they can afford the cost of living. The length and amount of support will be determined by a judge based on a variety of factors.
Finally, there are the types of divorce that are heavily contested, very expensive, and in which everything is being fought over. In these cases, things like division of property, child custody, child support, and spousal support are all points of great contention.
In these types of divorces, while perhaps not “required” from a strictly financial perspective, a concession of some amount of spousal support may be necessary for the divorce to be resolved. It is, unfortunately, very common for spousal support to be used as a punitive measure by one or both parties in a divorce where there is an abundance of ill will on either side.
Getting Legal Advice About Spousal Support
From a legal perspective, it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney about spousal support. It is one of the most common points of disagreement in a divorce, and it is also very common for one or both spouses to change their mind about wanting or needing support during the divorce process.
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