When a couple separates or divorces, one spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support from the other spouse. This financial support can be awarded by the court or may be agreed upon by the parties. Spousal support is separate from child support.
Many couples going through a separation or divorce can come to a fair agreement regarding spousal support. If you cannot come to an agreement, you may wish to go to mediation as an alternative to court. There are cases where either the legal or factual issues are difficult, or one or both of the parties do not appreciate that rights and duties flow from a long term relationship. In those cases you may need to go to court and ask a judge to make a decision regarding spousal support.
The judge will look at a number of important factors when making a decision regarding spousal support including:
- •Financial situation of each spouse;
- •How long the relationship lasted;
- •What amount of support is necessary for the spouse to become self-sufficient;
- •What was contributed, both financially and otherwise, during the relationship; and
- •If there are children, who has custody and whether child support is necessary.
Based on these factors, a judge will decide whether spousal support is or is not payable and, if it is, how much should be paid and how long that amount will be payable.