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Top 5 Spousal Support Questions

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Spousal support. Alimony.

Sure, we've heard of it. Most people know that when you get divorced one spouse may have to pay spousal support to the other. However, many people also have a lot of questions regarding how much, how long, and how to enforce.

So, here is a round-up of the top five questions regarding spousal support:

1. How Is Alimony Calculated?

Unlike child support, there is no clear-cut guideline for determining the amount of alimony, or spousal support, a divorced spouse may get. Laws governing spousal support vary from state to state.

Generally, factors considered include the length of the marriage, income and earning capacity of each spouse, children, and the standard of living during the marriage. In some states, fault may also be a factor.

2. How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

Spousal support can last for the recipient's lifetime, a few years, or just a few months. The length of spousal support may be extended or shortened depending on the receiving spouse's need, ability to work and become self-supporting, remarriage, and many other factors.

3. When Can Spousal Support be Reduced?

Did you get sick or lose your job? Did you or your ex-spouse remarry? You may be able to ask the court to reduce the amount of spousal support you must pay if a significant change in circumstance affects your ability to pay.

4. What to Do If Ex-Spouse Won't Pay Support?

Getting a spousal support order is hard enough. But, getting the ex-spouse to pay is a whole other ball game. If your ex-spouse refuses to pay support, you may have to consider mediation or returning to court for a contempt hearing or wage garnishment order.

5. What About Taxes?

Don't forget about taxes. Spousal support payments are generally tax deductible for the payer. Adversely, spousal support recipients must declare spousal support payments as income and pay taxes on any amount received.

If you have questions about spousal support or are having trouble enforcing a spousal support order, an experienced family law attorney will be able to help.

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