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6 Things Worth Knowing About Spousal Maintenance

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6 Things Worth Knowing About Spousal Maintenance

6 Things Worth Knowing About Spousal Maintenance

If you are going through a divorce, one of the terms that might be brought up is spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance, also referred to as alimony, is a payment, typically monthly, from one former spouse to the other. It is typically awarded to the lower-earning party. Spousal maintenance can be agreed upon through a divorce settlement or ordered by a court of law. Below are six key facts to know about spousal maintenance during a divorce.  

1. It is Meant to Help Financial Needs of the Recipient

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to allow one lower-earning party to maintain a similar lifestyle to what they were experiencing when married. It pays the partner who cannot support themselves from the funding from the divorce settlement alone. Essentially, courts thrive to ensure the maintenance of a comparable living standard post-divorce. 

2. Spousal Maintenance May Not Be Awarded in Every Case

Not every divorce case requires a spousal maintenance payment. If the funds from a divorce settlement can appropriately support the lower-earning partner, it may not be required. This is most frequently seen when there is a fair division of assets during divorce and there is no significant income disparity between both parties. 

3. Agreements of Spousal Maintenance are Legally Binding

When the court orders spousal maintenance to be paid, it is a legal requirement of your divorce. In other words, it is contractual. Courts view marriage as a financial commitment, and if that ends, they still aim to ensure that both parties are covered financially. When spousal maintenance is awarded, both parties must sign and agree to a written settlement agreement. If the order is breached, the payer can be held in contempt of court and face civil or criminal charges. 

4. There are No Set Formulas for Spousal Maintenance Awards

The total monthly amount that one party will receive for spousal maintenance cannot be easily estimated. There are many factors that determine an alimony award. Such include but are not limited to the payer’s income, the cost of the recipient’s comparable lifestyle, and the total income that the recipient earns and could potentially earn in the future. With all these considerations, if the payer’s income is in surplus of the recipient, spousal maintenance may be awarded. 

5. Recipients of Spousal Maintenance Must Maximize Their Income

The court system does not expect the recipient of spousal maintenance to solely live off their alimony. They will determine whether they are able to increase their workload or start a job if previously unemployed. However, considerations such as single motherhood will be taken into account. 

6. Spousal Maintenance May Vary or End Early

Not all forms of alimony will be indefinite. Terms of payments may include a term order or payment length, cessation for the death of either party or remarrying of the recipient, if the payer can no longer afford to make payments, or if a large sum of inheritance is awarded to the receiving party.  

Hire an Attorney to Discuss Spousal Maintenance

Because the awarding of spousal maintenance can be complex and lengthy, working with an experienced alimony and spousal support attorney may be beneficial. SAM LAW OFFICE LLC attorneys will walk you through the process of spousal maintenance hearings and documentation to ensure that you are being treated fairly in your divorce. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced spousal maintenance attorney, contact us today. 

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