What You Need to Know about Spousal Support
In England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Canada it is known as alimony maintenance; in the United States it is known as spousal support. Australians call it spouse maintenance. Wherever you are from, spousal support is something that is awarded to one spouse through a court order and that the other spouse must pay following a divorce proceeding. Read on to learn more about the history and different types of spousal support available.
A Brief History
The history of spousal support dates back to The Code of Hammurabi, from 1754 B.C. This code states that a man who wishes to separate from his wife should pay the woman who has borne his children a maintenance amount in order for her to be able to raise the children.
The contemporary idea of alimony in England is a product of the English ecclesiastical courts, in that alimony is awarded following proceedings of legal separation or divorce. Alimony pendente life is something that a husband is ordered to pay until the divorce is granted. This ensures that the husband continues to provide financial support for the wife for as long as the marriage continues. Alimony is awarded based on the knowledge that the marriage is continuing; that divorce did not end the marriage and the husband was still responsible to support his wife.
When the proceedings for the dissolution of a marriage have begun, it is the right of either party to seek alimony support payments throughout the course of a litigation trial. If the parties involved do not make it known in writing what the monetary alimony obligation will be, the court makes a decision as to the amount based on monetary evidence provided by both parties.
Factors Affecting Alimony Payments
In the United States, alimony is determined based upon different factors and elements that occur at the time of the hearing. The period of alimony is also variable, and some states, such as Texas, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Kentucky, and Maine, have precise guidelines that judges must follow when awarding alimony.
For example, in states such as Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, the monthly amount paid is either $2,500 or 40% of the payer’s total monthly income, whichever is less. In these states, alimony is also only awarded to a person if the marriage lasted at least ten years, and is awarded for a period of three years (unless other circumstances exist).
Some states, such as New York, consider any educational degree that were earned while married; a part of the marital property. This means that the divorce decree will require payment of the educated spouse to the other spouse a part of their expectant earnings from employment gained as a result of the degree.
In some cases, alimony may be waived. These cases include when there is a prenuptial agreement in place in which the spouse as signed away their rights to any alimony. However, if there are inequalities between the parties at the time of divorce that are too large, the prenuptial agreement may be disallowed.
If a party gets married in a state that allows prenuptial agreements to exclude alimony, but then later divorces in a state that does not allow the exclusion of alimony, then the laws of the state in which the divorce took place will prevail.
If you are experiencing a divorce, it is important that you know your rights or responsibilities when it comes to your spouse or former spouse. With the above information, you can be sure you know what to expect regarding spousal support.