Spousal Support, often referred to as Alimony, is often an issue of great concern in divorce cases. Alimony means the payment of support, monetarily, from one spouse to another. The idea is that husband and wife have a duty to support one another under the law, so if they are not living together, one may be called upon to support the other in the manner in which they established during the marriage, especially if there is a large difference in the amount of money each spouse makes. Often these awards are considered at two different times by the Court, once for temporary support or “Pendente Lite Support” at the start of litigation, and again spousal support can be reviewed at the end of the divorce case. Spousal support is revisited after equitable distribution of assets and debts are decided at the end of the divorce case, to determine if permanent spousal support will be paid or spousal support paid for a defined duration. Support can be permanent, or determined for a period of time. In some cases permanent support is appropriate, usually when one spouse’s need is great and the paying spouse has the ability to pay, and it has been a lengthy marriage. In other situations, like fault grounds of divorce, alimony may not be appropriate.
This type of support is generally offered if one has young children, or they are in the process of obtaining job-training or must seek additional education in order to be marketable. In addition, defined duration is more likely to be used in short or mid-range marriages, sometimes also when there are no children involved. This duration may give the person earning less money time to adjust to new circumstances, or obtain the skills necessary to be able to increase their earning potential and begin to support themselves.
This type of support may be awarded in longer marriages. This support may also be awarded if the parents involved made a marital decision for one parent to provide care for children while the other parent worked. There are many other factors which can contribute to a spousal support award including the age, physical or mental condition of a spouse, earning capacity, education, or perhaps the grounds of divorce.
It is important to have a skilled and qualified attorney at your side during the process of establishing alimony, as the judge can exercise a lot of discretion in determining spousal support. With over 40 years of experience in family law, Jonathan Murdoch-Kitt can provide expert guidance to determine the appropriate amount and duration of spousal support and negotiate on your behalf.