Spousal support always seems to get excessive attention in most divorce cases, even though it is usually not considered until a need can be determined after the property is divided. It is also at this time which, if either, a spouse is entitled to this benefit.
The amount awarded for the spousal support provided to either is stipulated by state law. Generally speaking, the amount to be paid is determined by five factors.
· Need of the recipient spouse
· Length of marriage
· Ability of the payor spouse to pay
· Age and state of health of both spouses
· Previous lifestyle
Whenever spousal support or divorce matter is considered, it is essential to have adequate representation by qualified Family and divorce lawyers.
Spousal support is designed to limit the economic impact on a lower-wage-earning or non-wage-earning spouse involved in a divorce proceeding. Spousal support is designed to give a spouse an ongoing income. Many factors are considered in determining whether to award spousal support and what the amount will be in those cases where it is determined to be appropriate.
Besides the factors listed above, the court will usually consider other issues as well. These might include whether there are minor children involved and the existence of non-marital assets while determining need.
Often courts will award an amount for “rehabilitative maintenance” while considering spousal support to give one spouse temporary help until they have the means to support themselves. This might even include tuition assistance to allow the recipient to return to school to learn any skills necessary to find and maintain a job.
If the financial situation of either spouse changes dramatically, it is possible that the court can modify spousal support. This is unlike property division, which is usually permanent. Unfortunately, this modification often costs more money and time in court. It’s for this reason that some couples will agree to non-modifiable spousal support to keep from more potential disruptions.
In most cases, there is an expiration date affixed to spousal support, but it can be ended early in certain circumstances. This includes cases where the payor or the recipient dies, or the recipient spouse remarries. In instances where there is an unexpected death, specific steps such as taking out a life insurance policy on the payor spouse to ensure that the recipient will continue to collect their support.
More Things to Consider
Unfortunately, in some cases, the payor spouse refuses to pay, despite the court’s judgment. For this reason, other methods can help ensure that the recipient will receive payment. These include:
· Life Insurance. A divorce agreement can require a payor spouse to purchase life insurance before the finalization of a divorce to replace the awarded support if an early death occurs. If it turns out that the payor spouse is uninsurable, other actions can ensure the same purpose.
· Disability Insurance. A divorce agreement can also require that a payor spouse have disability insurance if they become injured or disabled so that they can’t work. If the payor spouse is involved in a disabling accident, the payor spouse can request a support modification.
· Annuity. A payor spouse can also purchase an annuity to fund spousal support payments. This method ensures that all payments are made on time.
Just as is the case with nearly anything else related to divorce, the issue of spousal support can make for considerable financial and emotional stress without being properly prepared. Be sure to work with an attorney or financial counselor before making any commitments. `