Spousal Support - Another Name for Alimony
Courts still tend to seek to protect women, particularly those who have been in long-term marriages and out of the workforce. Judges understand that a career as a homemaker, which has obvious economic value to the family and society, does not translate into economic marketability. For this reason, in divorces involving couples where the man is a dominant wage earner, courts award women substantial spousal support in addition to what would appear to be a large share of the marital estate. This is particularly true in the case of long-term marriages where the children are adults. Prior to the no-fault ground for divorce, awards of alimony, which is another name for spousal support, were made on the idea that they were punitive; that is, it was used to punish the guilty for bad conduct leading to the breakdown of the marriage. In this, fault on the part of a spouse could be a bar to the receipt of alimony or a reason to compel one spouse to pay the other.
Some of the possible factors that bear on the amount and duration of the support are:
In setting spousal support, therefore, courts may consider how the marital property is divided, the marital standard of living, each spouse's separate assets, the length of any premarital cohabitation, the spouse's age and health, the needs of the children and the ability of the dependent spouse to return to work (if children are a factor), the contributions one spouse made to other's education or career advancement, and presumptive inheritances.
Resources & Tools
CALCULATION OF ALIMONY – In most jurisdictions, judges exercise broad discretion in awarding alimony, its amount and duration. The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, on which many states' spousal support statutes are based, recommends that courts consider the following factors in making decisions about alimony awards: the age, physical condition, emotional state, and financial condition of the former spouse; the length of time the recipient needs education or training to become self-sufficient; the couple's standard of living; the length of the marriage; and the ability of the payor spouse to support the recipient and support himself or herself.
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The Spousal Support Handbook
The Effect of Artificially High and Low Marital Standards of Living on Spousal Support Awards
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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