Divorce can be a difficult development, especially for people who are financially dependent on their partner. Having children and taking custody can make your financial situation even more difficult. While a good lawyer can make things easier for you, it is important that you understand the basics of spousal support (alimony) and how it is calculated.
First of all, it is important to understand the difference between “separation”, “legal separation” and “divorce”. The separation is a mutual decision in which the couple choose to live apart. No court or rule is involved in the separation. The legal separation is similar, but here your separation status is confirmed by the court. But you are still a married person. Divorce is when the marital status is completely dissolved. After the divorce, you can switch to your previous last name. Child custody is also decided after the divorce.
How do courts decide on maintenance?
If the couple agrees, they can determine the amount of support themselves. This can then be approved by the court. If no agreement can be reached between the couple, the court can take various factors into account when calculating the maintenance. The main factors that the court will consider include the payer’s annual income and expenses, the beneficiary’s financial needs, the length of the marriage, the number and ages of children, and the health of both persons.
The court also examines the employability of the spouse who applies for financial assistance. The assets owned and their financial value are also assessed. If the applicant has assets that exceed the income of the partner, the court can reject the application for spousal maintenance. Another reason for rejection is if the marriage period is less than two years. If the applicant is gainfully employed and self-employed, spousal support can also be refused.
Length of spousal maintenance
The judge examines all factors and decides on the duration of the spouse’s maintenance. It can be a specific period of time, usually about half the total length of the marriage. However, it can vary depending on the findings and assessment of the court. The spouse’s maintenance ends when the recipient dies or remarries.
To ensure that you are getting the maintenance you need, it is important to use a good lawyer. Even if you have a warm relationship with your partner, things like spousal support should be certified by a court. Things change and people change, so you cannot be negligent on such matters. When you have custody of your children, it becomes even more important to be financially stable.