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Understanding the basics of spousal support - Part II

During a recent post, we began a discussion about spousal support. We briefly explained the functions of spousal support and we noted that there is no one “set” way in which spousal support is calculated. Just as every marriage is different, every divorce settlement is different as well.

When thinking about spousal support as it may apply to your divorce settlement, it is important to understand that spousal support rarely lasts for a lifetime anymore. Certainly, there are cases in which older spouses, spouses who may be disabled or spouses with unique needs may be awarded spousal support for life, subject to certain conditions. However, it is no longer the norm for spousal support to be awarded for life.

In general, spousal support may be terminated when the spouse receiving support marries again. Sometimes, spousal support is terminated when the spouse receiving support begins living with another romantic partner. In addition, support may be awarded for a certain number of years or until certain conditions have been met. For example, a spouse may be awarded support until he or she graduates from college and secures a well-paying job.

In addition, spousal support orders may be altered under certain circumstances. If you or your former spouse experiences a radical change in income, falls significantly ill or otherwise experiences a life event that affects payment or receipt of spousal support, your attorney may be able to aid you in altering your spousal support order.

Finally, it is important to note that spousal support may result in tax consequences. You may ask your attorney about any tax-related concerns you may have.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Top 5 Spousal Support Questions,” Le Trinh, June 22, 2015

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