The court may order one party to pay the other spousal support in a divorce. There are options for the court to order temporary payments or permanent payments.
The court considers numerous factors in its determination to require one party to pay the other spousal support. A formula generally determines the amount.
Main factors in determining spousal support
The court looks at the earning capacity of each partner to determine if they can maintain their lifestyle during the marriage. If there is a significant disparity in the earning capabilities of the spouses, the court will likely order the higher earner to make support payments. The court also considers the debts owed by the parties, the age and health of each partner, any history of domestic abuse and childcare requirements for dependent children. The court will attempt to balance the needs and obligations of both spouses to reach an equitable resolution.
Duration of payments
The length of the marriage determines the general rule for spousal support payments. For a marriage that has lasted ten years or less, the court usually is willing to order spousal support to last for half the duration of the marriage. If the marriage has existed longer than ten years, the courts are more likely to award permanent spousal support. To stop the payment requirement for permanent spousal support, the paying party must prove the supported spouse no longer needs the help at some point in the future.
Courts can use spousal support to help even the playing field for ex-spouses in the event of a divorce.