Getting Divorced? What You Should Know About Spousal Support

When you are getting a divorce and are the sole income earner in your marriage, you might be responsible for paying spousal support. Depending on where you live, the rules regarding spousal support and when it is required can vary quite a bit. However, the following information about spousal support seems to be true across the board.

There Are Different Forms of Spousal Support

Instead of just one type of spousal support, also called alimony, there are typically a few different types depending on where you live. There is temporary spousal support, which is only for a short period of time while your soon-to-be ex spouse gets back on their feet, as well as permanent spousal support which continues in the long term, with a few exceptions. There is also reimbursement spousal support in some states, which is offered to your spouse as a way to repay expenses they had during the marriage, such as if your spouse paid for you to go to medical school while you were married. You may be asked to pay monthly payments or a lump sum for spousal support.

Spousal Support Doesn't Last Forever

Keep in mind that no matter what type of spousal support you are paying, it most likely will not be something you pay for the rest of your life. A very common reason you might no longer have to pay alimony is your ex-spouse remarrying. Their new spouse will then help your spouse live the life they became accustomed to while being married to you. Even if they don't get remarried, you can have the case revisited at a later date to either put a stop to the payments or reduce them based on your income or your spouse's new income. 

Short Marriages Don't Require as Much Support

In many states, the amount of time you have been married makes a big difference in what type of spousal support you have to pay. Generally speaking, longer marriages require you to pay more and pay spousal support for a longer period of time following the divorce. If you have only been married for a few years, you shouldn't have to pay quite as much to your ex-spouse.

You Should Get a Lawyer

It is advisable that you have a good divorce lawyer to help with divorce proceedings, whether you feel the spousal support request is acceptable or not. The attorney can make sure your ex-spouse is only getting a fair amount and can help you with other aspects of the divorce as well. There may be some legal situations that call for your paying less spousal support or paying only rehabilitative spousal support, which is money given to your ex-spouse only until they find a job.