Evaluating Spousal Support

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Evaluating Spousal Support

Unlike child support calculations, there are only the most general guidelines for determining the amount of spousal support to be given. Judges have a lot of leeway when it comes to this, and even similar cases can have drastically different outcomes. Usually, spousal support is based on the wife’s needs vs. the husband’s finances. Spousal support is meant to help the wife maintain the same standard of living that she had during the marriage. It can be determined by the following criteria:

• Comparing the financial picture of both husband and wife, before and after the dissolution of the marriage.
• Each spouse’s work history and their income potential, which is based on age, skills and training, and the likelihood that they will be hired in the future.
• The amount of time that the supported spouse (whether it be the wife or the husband) has spent out of work, foregoing their career in order to stay home and take care of the kids and the household.
• The extent to which the supported spouse helped the other spouse with a business, or their education or career.
• The supported spouse must have made a good-faith effort to find work that suits their age, skills, and health. Spouses must make an attempt to become at least partly self-sufficient.
• Taxation consequences for both spouses.
• The supporting spouse’s ability to pay- which is based on their financial outlook, inclusive of all assets, property, and income.
• Any other support obligations on the part of either spouse.
• The length of the marriage. In long-term marriages (usually anything over ten years) the courts try to equalize both spouses’ incomes after taxes.

A temporary spousal support order is based on the earnings of both people, and any pressing needs they may have. This can sometimes seem as if it gives an unfair advantage to the at-home spouse, but now most judges require that the supported spouse demonstrate an effort to find suitable employment if they are able to do so. They’ll also order professional skills testing if a person hasn’t worked for a long time. The aim is for the supported spouse to be financially self-sufficient within a certain amount of time. No matter what amount of support is ordered, it goes away in the event of a remarriage, and can be easily modified.





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