What does Spousal Support mean?
Spousal support, which historically has been called alimony, is the amount of money paid from one spouse to the other following a divorce. The goal of spousal support is to allow both partners to maintain a standard of living comparable to the one they had during the marriage.
Spousal support can take many forms. For instance, spousal support can be permanent and paid to a spouse until they either remarry or they die. It can also be temporary. For instance, temporary spousal maintenance allows for the payment of funds to one spouse for a specific time period, generally until they can recover financially from a divorce. The amount of time allowed for temporary spousal support varies by state laws and judicial practices. The final type of spousal maintenance is rehabilitative support. This type of support allows for payments to a spouse while they acquire job training or a college education to return to the job force. This type of spousal support is common for wives who have left the work force for an extended period of time to care for children or to support the home.
State laws for spousal support vary, but the courts generally have some leeway to evaluate several factors and make a judicial decision. Factors which might be considered include the duration of the marriage, the contribution of a spouse makes as a homemaker, the earnings capability of each spouse, the age, health and emotional well-being of each spouse and whether one spouse will have custodial responsibilities for the children.