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Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 06:51 pm
Spousal Support: Understanding Alimony and Its Types
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is the financial assistance provided by one spouse to the other during or after divorce proceedings. It is typically paid by the spouse with a higher income to the spouse with a lower income. It is important to note that spousal support should not be confused with spousal maintenance, which is provided while a couple is still married.
Different Types of Spousal Maintenance
There are different types of spousal maintenance that can be awarded depending on the circumstances:
1. Temporary Maintenance
Temporary maintenance is paid by one spouse to the other during the divorce proceedings. It is usually awarded when one spouse has no other source of income and requires immediate financial support.
2. Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance
Post-divorce spousal maintenance is awarded after the divorce has been finalized. It is intended to provide ongoing financial support to the spouse with a lower income.
Factors Affecting Spousal Maintenance
Several factors are taken into consideration when determining the amount of spousal maintenance:
1. Duration of the Marriage
The length of the marriage plays a role in determining the amount of alimony. Generally, longer marriages result in higher alimony payments.
2. Age of the Parties
The age of the parties involved is considered. If the spouse receiving spousal support is older and has health issues, they may be awarded a larger amount.
3. Earning Capacity
The earning capacity of each spouse is crucial. If a spouse has a high earning potential, they may receive less spousal maintenance. The goal is to help the receiving spouse become financially independent.
4. Current Income and Property
The current income and property owned by each spouse are taken into account. The division of property can impact the amount of spousal maintenance awarded.
5. Loss Incurred by a Spouse
If a spouse has made sacrifices, such as giving up a career to take care of children, this can increase the amount of spousal maintenance awarded.
6. Child Custody Arrangements
If the spouse with lower earning capacity is granted physical custody of the children, the other spouse may be required to pay additional spousal maintenance along with child support.
7. Equitable Distribution of Property
If there is a fair distribution of property between the spouses, the amount of spousal maintenance may be reduced.
8. Health Insurance
If the couple had joint health insurance, the cost of individual health insurance after divorce may be factored into the spousal maintenance calculation.
9. Death of a Spouse
If the spouse receiving alimony passes away, the payments will cease. Similarly, if the paying spouse dies, the recipient will no longer receive spousal maintenance.
The law provides a formula for calculating spousal maintenance, which can be found online. It is important to report the full alimony amount for tax return purposes.
How a Lawyer Can Assist
A lawyer can provide valuable assistance in matters related to spousal support:
– Ensuring fair spousal maintenance during divorce proceedings
– Explaining the impact of alimony on tax returns
– Assisting with alimony calculations
Consulting with a lawyer can help navigate the complexities of spousal support and ensure a fair outcome for both parties involved.