Unlike child support, which courts order based on relatively strict guidelines, spousal support may vary significantly based on the discretion of the court and elements of a given marriage. In fact, spousal support is not always awarded in the first place. A court must examine the wishes of both parties and several aspects of the marriage itself before determining whether to award support to one spouse or the other, and what type of support to award.
Not all spousal support operates in the same way. Some spousal support orders indicate that the support persists indefinitely, while other awards focus on giving the receiving spouse the resources necessary to get back on his or her feet and reach self-sufficiency.
In other cases, paying spouses may successfully seek a one-time payment of spousal support, which is generally advantageous to them if they have the liquid assets to make such a payment.
If you face divorce including spousal support, it is important to understand your rights in the matter so that you do not miss out on important benefits or receive a truly unfair support order. It is always wise to approach divorce with the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney who can guide you through this complicated process and keep your rights and privileges protected.
Courts consider many issues before awarding spousal support
Spouses who anticipate paying spousal support understandably have concerns about how such an award is determined. While there are no strict rules when it comes to spousal support, it is still a very serious concern for many divorcing spouses who simply want a clean break from a marriage that has run its course.
The length of your marriage is a significant consideration. Courts generally are less likely to award significant ongoing support in a marriage that lasts a matter of months or only a couple of years over a marriage that lasts decades before dissolving.
The age of the receiving spouse and his or her physical health is also a major factor. Spouses who are still relatively young and able to enter the workplace to provide for themselves are less likely to receive the same award that an elderly spouse with few earning years in his or her future, or a spouse facing serious health issues.
The court examines all aspects of the standard of living that a couple enjoyed prior to a divorce, and may award the receiving spouse accordingly. If you and your spouse lived very comfortably together, a court may order your spouse a sizable award.
The court also considers the ability of each spouse to provide for themselves, as well as the paying spouse's ability to provide ongoing support.
While these are not the only issues at hand during spousal support consideration, they cover most of the bases and may give you a general idea of the award you may face.
Get the help you need to protect your rights
As a breadwinner, you may face some additional strains on your finances to get your marriage behind you. Don't hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of divorce involving significant assets to understand your rights and build a divorce strategy that protects them.