Will You Be Required to Pay Spousal Support in a Divorce?
Spousal support, which is also called alimony, is a payment to an ex-spouse in a divorce to provide financial assistance to a former spouse. If you are the higher breadwinner in a marriage, you may be concerned about paying alimony to your spouse. State laws often govern whether you’ll be required to pay alimony. Here are some of the considerations that you should consider.
- How long the marriage lasted – in longer marriages, there is a good chance that one spouse may be ordered to pay alimony.
- The health of the other spouse – spouses who are unable to work due to health reasons may be awarded alimony.
- The earnings of the other spouse – when spouses earn roughly the same amount, it’s less likely that you will be required to pay alimony. Spousal support is given to help the other spouse get back into the job market or have time to get training that lets them get a position that pays a fair wage.
- Paying alimony is an expense of exiting a marriage. It doesn’t mean that you are being penalized or that your spouse is more important.
How Long Will You Have to Pay Alimony?
Spousal support is generally ordered for a certain time frame. You may have to pay alimony for five years while your former spouse attends college to get a professional degree, for example. If the spouse is disabled, you may be responsible for alimony for a longer time. Although spousal support is separate from child support, you may be ordered to pay alimony until the children no longer require a full-time parent at home. The judge may set a time frame to give the spouse time to become self-supporting.
If you have a significant event in your life, you may be able to modify alimony. You should consider having a clause about modification in your spousal support order. A job loss or retirement can severely limit your ability to pay spousal support. Your spouse may want something that orders you to pay more for a cost-of-living increase each year or if you get a promotion in the spousal support timeline.
Does a Judge Decide Alimony?
Ideally, you and your spouse should try to come to an agreement about alimony to save time and money. If you can’t decide, a judge will determine the terms. However, a trial can cost you money that you may not have.
You should talk to a family lawyer, like a child support law firm in Tampa FL, about alimony to find the best outcome for your divorce.
Thank you to the experts at The Mckinney Law Group for their insight into child support law.