Spousal support may be important financial support for one of the divorcing spouses. For that reason, both spouses should understand how an award of spousal support may be reached so they can protect and advocate for their interest during their divorce.
Arriving at a spousal support award
During the divorce process, the divorce court may require one spouse to pay spousal support, or alimony, to the other spouse. There are factors used to determine if spousal support will be awarded can include:
- The past relations and conduct of each of the spouses;
- The length of the marriage;
- The ages of each of the spouses;
- The health of each of the spouses;
- The ability of each of the spouses to work;
- The amount of property awarded to each spouse and the source of that property;
- The contributions of each of the spouses to the joint estate;
- The situation of each of the spouses at the time of the divorce;
- The ability of each of the spouses to pay alimony;
- The prior standard of living of each of the spouses;
- The needs of each of the spouses;
- The fault of each of the spouses in causing the divorce; and
- General equitable principles and some other considerations.
When evaluating these factors, the divorce court will decide if alimony will be awarded to one of the spouses which will create a payment obligation for the other spouse. Because spousal support may be difficult to work out during the divorce process, it is helpful to know what is taken into account when and if a spousal support award is made.