Is spousal support required?

Spousal support is not always required.  When spousal support is required, it is determined by a number of factors.  Ultimately, spousal support is at the court's discretion as required by the dictates of justice and equity; however, generally spousal support seeks to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage until that spouse is self-supporting.  Generally support is granted for a reasonable period of time, which is defined as one-half of the length of the marriage with an exception for marriages of especially long duration.  Marriages of long duration are ten years long and may require support indefinitely.  If the court finds that the former spouse is not taking steps to become self-supporting, the court may end the support payments.

Despite the goal of support only maintaining the standard of living until the supported spouse is self-supporting, several other considerations also affect the court's judgment of what is appropriate.  One important factor is the skills of the spouse requesting support and the job market for those skills as well as the training or education needed to make those skills marketable.  The affect of working on his or her children is also considered.  Likewise, the supported spouses' unemployment and reduced earnings expectations due to domestic work, sometimes called “the Mommy Track” is considered.  If the party seeking support helped the other spouse to get an education, training, or a license this is also factored in.  The financial ability of the paying spouse is another important factor and all income, assets, and standard of living are considered.  Debts, assets, obligations, and separate property of both spouses are considered as is the duration of the marriage and the health and age of both spouses.  Documented domestic violence is also a factor in determining support as are criminal convictions for domestic violence.  Tax consequences also play a role.  Questions of support are complex and require an experienced, knowledgeable attorney; contact Sagaria Law today to schedule an initial appointment with one of our Family Law specialists.