Spousal Support Basics
Should I get Spousal Support
One of the questions we are asked in most divorce actions is if the spouse is entitled to support. Unlike child support, there is no automatic entitlement to spousal support. New guidelines have been developed but they are only advisory at this time and they havenot yet been accepted as law by the Courts. The first threshold is to determine if any support is payable. In most cases if the spouse has not left a job to raise a family or moved to follow her spouse, then there may be limited recovery. Also the Court will consider the length of the relationship. Marriages of less than 10 years will usually result in small awards for a very limited amount of time. If there are no children then the suggested guidelines call for spousal support of between 1.5% and 2.0% per year of marriage for between 50% and 100% of the length of the marriage. These figures are based on the DIFFERENCE in incomes between the spouses. If there are children, the guidelines are much more complicated and require the services of a lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. In most cases, asserting the right to spousal support will complicate the divorce issue and move the case from uncontested to contested very quickly. One other question we are asked regularly is whether unmarried couples are entitled to spousal support. Once again, these situations are very complicated and will require the services of a qualified family lawyer. Our office can provide referrals to qualified professionals if the matters becomes contentious during the process. We do have a subscription to a service called "Divorce Mate" which can caluclate the amount of spousal support based on the Federal Spousal Support Guidelines. This printout will give you a range of spousal support that the Court will consider when making a suggestion about the amount of support owed. However, the guidelines only apply if the spouse is able to convince a Judge that they are entitled to the spousal support in the first place.
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