One of the major elements of a divorce is alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance. The objective of alimony according to divorce law is to enable the out of work or lesser-earning spouse be able to cope financially while raising children or taking care of a household.

The focus on alimony has been reduced over the past few years as courts seek to keep the duration as short as possible and are not likely to grant alimony in cases where is not a large difference in the income of both spouses. If the marriage has lasted over a decade then alimony is almost usually granted unless the earning capacities are the same.

According to divorce lawyers, states have different laws when it comes to spousal support. For example, there may be a specific duration for alimony payments while some states may mandate that alimony be stopped when the receiving spouse remarries. That is only logical! In most cases, the duration for alimony is detailed in the marital settlement agreement or judgment in the course of the divorce proceedings.

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How Spousal Support is Calculated

For the most part, spousal supported is calculated based on several factors. This includes the ability to earn, the ability of paying spouse to help, and most importantly, who of the two need financial assistance more than the other. The longer the marriage the more the chance of alimony being awarded since there is the possibility of a bigger difference in the capability of the spouses to earn. In cases where the marriage lasted very long, the court may consider granting permanent spousal support.

Alimony Time Period

The time for which alimony lasts also depends on several factors such as the length of the marriage and comparative incomes of both spouses. A spouse who is out of employment or earns less and has been raising children is usually awarded maintenance for a longer period to allow him or her time to seek gainful employment. If there is no date specified for alimony to be discontinued, the general rule is that it ends when the recipient remarries or dies.

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Divorce attorneys recommend that both spouses do not under-report their income. However, if one spouse suspects that the other is doing so, they will have to provide proof such as personally testifying about the actual income their spouse told them about. On the other hand, they could have other people testify. One of the best ways to prove any under-reporting is if the marital lifestyle was fully paid for with the spouse’s earnings.

What if a Spouse Stops Paying Spousal Support

There are several reasons why a spouse may fall behind on paying spousal support. This includes job loss, a medical condition, or injury that could have reduced the spouse’s ability to work or reduction in wages. The paying spouse may simply feel the urge to stop making payments after a prolonged period. If a spouse does not receive court-ordered maintenance, the first thing to do pertaining to divorce lawyers is to determine why.

If there is a valid reason it is important to take the first step work out an agreement to reduce or suspend alimony until the paying spouse gets back on work. If there is no other reason than trying to avoid the obligation then a motion must be filed with the court. This is the stage where a divorce lawyer can prove to be most helpful especially when it comes to drafting legal motions and representing your interests in a proper legal setting.