Divorce can be a challenging development, especially for people who are financially dependent on their partner. Having children and taking their custody can further complicate the financial situation. While a good lawyer can make things easier, it is essential that you understand the basics of spousal support (alimony) and how it is calculated.
To begin with, it’s important to understand the difference between ‘Separation’, ‘Legal Separation’ and ‘Divorce’. Separation is a mutual decision, wherein the couple decides to live apart. No court or rules are involved in separation. Legal Separation is similar, but in this your separated status is certified by the court of law. You are still a married person though. Divorce is when the marriage status is dissolved completely. After divorce, you can switch to your earlier last name. Custody of children is also decided after divorce.
How courts decide alimony?
If the couple agrees, they can themselves fix the amount of alimony. This can then be approved by the court. In the absence of an agreement between the couple, the court may look at various factors to calculate alimony. Some of the key things the court will look into include the payer’s annual income and expenses, financial needs of the recipient, duration of marriage, number and age of children, and health status of both individuals.
The court will also look into the earning capacity of the spouse who is asking for financial support. Assets owned and their financial value will also be evaluated. In case the applicant asking for alimony has assets that value more than the partner’s income, the court may reject the application for spousal support. Another reason for rejection is when the time of marriage is less than two years. If the applicant is employed and self-sufficient, then also spousal support may be rejected.
Duration of spousal support
The judge will look into all the factors and decide on the duration of spousal support. It can be for a specific period, usually around half of the overall duration of marriage. However, it can vary based on the court’s findings and assessment. Spousal support ends in case of death or remarriage of the recipient.
To ensure that you get the alimony you need, it is essential that you hire a good lawyer. Even if you have cordial relations with your partner, things like spousal support should be certified in the court of law. Things change and people change, so you cannot be careless about such matters. If you have custody of your children, it becomes all the more important to be financially stable.