Spousal Support: 10 Vital Facts To Know


If you are going through a divorce, the issue of spousal support may have surfaced. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is available for spouses who need financial assistance from a divorcing spouse. You may not be sure if you are eligible for this support, but you should think carefully before you turn down the opportunity to receive it. Read on for 10 important facts about spousal support to help you make your decision.

  1. Spousal support exists to help bring some standard of living equality to the spouse who may have sacrificed their education or career for the marriage or for the care of minor children.
  2. You don't need to be divorced to qualify for spousal support, but you do need to be separated and have a separation agreement that has been filed with the court.
  3. In the past, alimony was frequently tied to punishing the guilty or at-fault party for wrong-doing, but now alimony is for the most part based on the needs of the spouse, not on fault. About two-thirds of states still allow at-fault divorces, however, so to say that fault has no impact on divorce would be erroneous.
  4. It is not always the wife who receives spousal support. Many couples now find themselves in a role reversal from the traditional mom-at-home model, and the higher earning spouse may be ordered to pay support regardless of sex.
  5. Part of the separation agreement and the divorce decree will address spousal support and if you waive support, it may be extremely difficult to opt-in for it in the future.
  6. Temporary and permanent support is available, with permanent support becoming very uncommon. Temporary support can go on for several years, but permanent support could exceed your ex-spouse's lifetime, with payments continuing from his estate after his death.
  7. Rehabilitative support is meant to give a spouse time and money to complete an education or job training.
  8. The spousal support agreement can be amended and changed any time circumstances require. You may ask for more, your spouse may ask for a reduction due to a job change, etc.
  9. Spousal support does not necessarily end with your remarriage. You may be able to negotiate a lower amount initially that would continue longer, rather than a higher amount that ends with your remarriage.
  10. Spousal support is taxed as income, unlike child support. Do not, however, attempt to evade taxes by requesting a lower alimony payment and higher child support payment. Child support payments are based on income and higher amounts could cause scrutiny by the I.R.S.

As you can see from the facts above, spousal support can be a complicated issue, especially with complicating factors such as long marriages and tax issues. Careful consideration with the help of a divorce attorney is vital before you agree to a provision that you later regret.

Talk to experts like Nichols, Speidel, & Nichols for more information. 


18 May 2015

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