Will I get spousal support after my divorce?

Spousal support is offered to ensure that each individual retains a standard of living which is comparable to the one they had while married. So what if you are a stay at home mother or you earn less than your spouse? You may be entitled to spousal support with the expectation that you would start to support yourself in the future to the extent in which you are able. The court will also review your spouse's ability to pay. Consider, however, because it cost more to maintain two households, it is likely that you and your spouse may have to share equally in the decline in the standard of living.

There are four types of alimony: permanent alimony, which is offered indefinitely or until some major change of circumstance; term alimony, which is paid for a specific length of time; rehabilitative alimony, which is paid until the receiving spouse can complete a plan to generate their own income; and reimbursement alimony, which is designed to reimburse one spouse for time and support given to the other spouse who has obtained a valuable degree or certification.

Spousal support factors

So how will the courts determine how much spousal support should be paid to a spouse? Judges have some leeway in making their decision but will consider the following factors:

  • The ability of the parties to pay
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age, emotional and physical health of each spouse
  • The standard of living in which each spouse is accustomed and the extent that this standard of living can be maintained
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The educational level of each spouse
  • The length of time the non-paying spouse has been away from the job market
  • The parental responsibilities of each parent
  • The distribution of property
  • The financial and non-financial contribution of each spouse to the children
  • The time needed for the receiving spouse to find adequate employment or gain sufficient training to find a new job
  • The tax implications for each party
  • Whether there is additional income for either party from investments or other assets
  • Any other additional factors the court decides is relevant to their decision

Hiring a Divorce Lawyer - Due to the complexity of the spousal support calculation and all of the factors which should be considered prior to agreeing to spousal support, it is important to discuss your divorce with a divorce lawyer prior to agreeing to spousal support payments. If you and your spouse cannot agree on payments, the court can intervene and order the appropriate payments.

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