Unlike child support, there is no formula for the calculation of spousal support. Spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, is meant to be rehabilitative in cases where there is a disparity in the parties' incomes. The Court is guided by a number of factors when determining the appropriate amount and duration of spousal support.
- The past relations and conduct of the parties
- The length of the marriage
- The abilities of the parties to work
- The source and amount of property awarded to the parties
- The parties' ages
- The abilities of the parties to pay alimony
- The present situation of the parties
- The needs of the parties
- The parties' health
- The prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others, and
- General principles of equity
In cases where the parties reach an agreement as to spousal support, they can elect to make the support payments modifiable or non-modifiable with regard to amount and/or duration. Following the entry of a modifiable spousal support order, modifications upward, downward or termination of spousal support may be permitted if there is an appropriate change of circumstances.
There are a number of very interesting questions that arise when it comes to spousal support, including the following:
- Can I receive, or is my spouse entitled to receive “permanent” alimony/spousal support?
- Can spousal support end if the receiver of support begins cohabitating with a new partner?
- What happens if the payer of support voluntarily reduces or eliminates his/her income to avoid paying support?
- What happens if the receiver of support refuses to work to their full capacity?
- What happens if the payer of support is self-employed and doesn't “declare” all of their income?
- What happens to alimony/spousal support when one or both parties retire?
- Is inherited money considered for purposes of spousal support?
- Are health insurance premiums included or considered when negotiating spousal support?
- If either party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, will that impact spousal support?
- What happens if the party receiving support also received some portion of the value of their spouse's business?
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These questions and arguments relating to the duration and amount of spousal support are very complex. Every case is unique. The family law attorneys at McGinnis Chiappelli, P.C. would encourage you to contact us to discuss your specific case. The INITIAL CONSULTATION IS FREE. We offer flexible appointment times, along with reasonable fees.