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Looking at spousal support — the ins and outs

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2017 | Spousal Support

Divorce is a complex, intricate matter which may be very confusing to those involved.  Divorce terminology appears familiar, as it is often read about and heard in modern society. When one is in the midst of a divorce, though, confusion may soon set in. Terms like spousal support, alimony, child support, custody, joint custody and many more are freely thrown around, but not always clarified.

Those in New Jersey who are in the midst of a divorce may, for example, wonder what precisely is spousal support and if it differs from alimony. In fact, these two terms mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably. Spousal support may be awarded to a spouse by a court, aimed at offsetting any unfair financial effects of a divorce. 

Spousal support is not a given. Each case is unique, and it is up to the court to decide if it should be awarded. In most cases, a spouse will be awarded support where this spouse earns no, or significantly lower, income than the other party. In making the award, a court will consider a number of factors, including how long the couple was married, what their standard of living was while married, both partners’ financial standing as well as their ages, physical and emotional conditions.

More often than not, there is a time limit to the support awarded to a spouse to allow the person to become independent and self-supporting. A court will evaluate the situation and estimate the period needed for this spouse to get back on his or her feet financially. There are certain situations where spousal support is awarded permanently, sometimes even continuing after the spouse paying the support dies. When the award is for life, the court will take factors like the age, ability to get a job and earn a salary, and the physical condition of the spouse receiving the money into consideration. 

A New Jersey family law attorney is in the ideal position to provide advice regarding spousal support and other divorce issues. Spouses receiving support may need counsel regarding tax consequences, or what to do when the payments they are entitled to are not paid. Spouses having to pay may have concerns about tax issues or what may happen if they do not pay court-ordered support.      

Source: divorce.lovetoknow.com, “Spousal Support“, Dana Hinders, Accessed on Jan. 16, 2017