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Spousal Support FAQ

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a common topic of discussion during divorce proceedings. No matter how amicable your divorce might be, it is important to rely on a legal professional who can assist you during the process. Take a look at a few frequently asked questions about spousal support below, and count on the Setzer Law Firm for help with spousal support.

FAQs About Spousal Support

Some of the most common questions people ask about spousal support include:

What is alimony?

Alimony refers to payments that one spouse makes to another spouse following the conclusion of a divorce. There are some situations where these payments will continue indefinitely, and there are other situations where these payments might be stopped after a certain amount of time. The end date doesn’t necessarily have to be decided during the divorce proceedings.

Is alimony the same as child support?

Alimony is not the same as child support, as child support is designed to assist with the costs of raising a child. Alimony is specifically designed to support a spouse, not a child, once the marriage has ended. Furthermore, there are some situations where alimony might not terminate, but child support typically terminates once the child is grown.

What is the purpose of alimony?

The purpose of alimony is to provide reasonable and necessary support for a spouse following the dissolution of marriage. The person asking for alimony payments from the court has to show that he or she needs the financial support. In addition, the other spouse has to show an ability to provide that support following the end of a marriage. For example, alimony payments could be used to support a spouse while he or she goes back to school. Or, alimony payments could be used to provide the other spouse with the same lifestyle that he or she enjoyed during the marriage.

If I want alimony, can I ask for it?

Yes. If you feel like you deserve alimony payments, you can certainly request alimony. It does not necessarily mean that the court is going to grant it, but it will be something that will be discussed during the divorce proceedings. If you feel like you deserve alimony payments, you need to work with an attorney who can put your request in the best position possible to succeed.

If I decide I need alimony later, but I do not currently have it, can I get it later?

If you do not get alimony payments awarded at the time of the divorce, you cannot get them added down the road. If the court decides that you do not need alimony payments right now, you cannot go back at a later date and ask for them. If you feel like you want alimony payments, you need to ask for them at the time of the divorce.

What happens if I feel like I cannot pay alimony?

If the court has required you to make alimony payments, but you feel like you are unable to do so, you should discuss this with your lawyer and the judge. If you are ordered to make alimony payments, but you do not do so, the court can take action against you. If you can make alimony payments initially, but something happens in your financial life that prevents you from making alimony payments later, you can request the court to change the alimony order. This is another situation where you need to reach out to an attorney who can help you.

How long will I receive alimony payments?

Regardless of whether you are making or receiving alimony payments, they are not necessarily made in perpetuity. There are some situations where alimony payments are only required until the spouse has the ability to work for himself or herself. For example, alimony payments might be required while the spouse goes back to school for his or her career. There are other situations where you and your staff may come to an agreement on a certain timeframe of alimony payments. In that case, the judge simply has to approve it. Finally, there are other situations where the alimony payments might stop after someone has gotten remarried. If you are making alimony payments to your ex-spouse, and your ex-spouse gets remarried, you can request the court to stop the alimony payments.

What factors go into deciding the size of alimony payments?

There are several factors the court will consider. They include the ability of the spouse to support himself or herself, the time required for the spouse to go back to school to compete for a job, the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the circumstances leading to the separation, and the financial needs of each party involved in thedivorce proceedings.

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