Spousal support or alimony is the amount of money awarded to one of the former spouses after a couple gets divorced. Spousal support may be agreed upon by the couple prior to the divorce, or a court may take this decision. The primary goal of spousal support is to mitigate the possible unfair financial effects a divorce may have on the low or non-wage earning spouse.
Alimony and child support are not to be confused. Child support is money from the non-custodial parent to the parent with primary custody and is to be spent only on the upbringing of the child. The child support agreement follows very specific state mandated guidelines. The court does not have such specific monetary guidelines for alimony.
According to the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, the court may consider the following factors when making decisions regarding spousal support.
- Financial and physical condition of the former spouse.
- Age and emotional state.
- The length of time needed for the recipient spouse to become self-sufficient.
- The lifestyle and standard of living of the couple prior to the divorce.
- Duration of the marriage.
- The financial ability of the spouse that has to pay the award, and if after paying the award the payer spouse will still be able to support themselves.
The issue of spousal support might come up in several divorce cases. Each case is unique, and some cases might be more complex than others. It is important to know your rights and the options that you have. Hiring an experienced attorney might be in your best interests.