Understanding Spousal Support: What You Need to Know Before Negotiating

Posted on: February 8, 2024

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is a critical component of many divorce proceedings, yet it remains one of the most misunderstood aspects. Whether you’re the potential payer or recipient, having a clear understanding of spousal support is crucial before entering negotiations.

At Law Office of Michael L. Fell, we aim to demystify spousal support, providing you with the knowledge needed to navigate this complex issue effectively. Contact us now at (949) 585-9055 for a legal consultation from a family law attorney.

The Basics of Spousal Support

Spousal support is a financial payment made by one ex-spouse to the other following a separation or divorce. Its primary purpose is to minimize any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. This support helps the recipient maintain a standard of living similar to that of the marriage or civil union.

Types of Spousal Support

Understanding the different types of spousal support can help you better grasp what you might be entitled to or what you might owe. Generally, there are three main types:

  • Temporary: Also known as pendente lite, this is provided during the divorce proceedings.
  • Permanent: This may continue indefinitely, often until the recipient remarries or either party dies, though “permanent” can sometimes be a misnomer as courts can modify orders based on changing circumstances.
  • Rehabilitative: This is intended to be short-term, supporting the recipient until they can become self-sufficient, often through retraining or further education.

Factors Influencing Spousal Support

Several factors can influence the amount and duration of spousal support, including:

  • Length of the marriage: Generally, longer marriages may lead to longer support periods.
  • Income and property of each spouse: This includes both during the marriage and anticipated post-divorce.
  • Age and health of both spouses: This can affect earning capacity and the need for support.
  • Standard of living during the marriage: Courts often aim to allow both parties to maintain a lifestyle similar to that of their marriage.
  • Contributions to the other’s earning potential: This includes supporting a spouse through education or sacrificing career advancement for homemaking.

Negotiating Spousal Support

Negotiating spousal support requires a strategic approach. Here are some tips:

  • Gather comprehensive financial documentation: This includes income, debts, assets, and living expenses to ensure a fair assessment.
  • Consider future financial projections: Anticipate changes in income, career advancements, or retirement.
  • Explore mediation: A neutral third party can facilitate negotiations, often leading to a more amicable agreement.
  • Be open to compromise: Flexibility can lead to mutually beneficial arrangements and avoid prolonged court battles.

Legal Representation is Key

Given the complexities surrounding spousal support, securing experienced legal representation is essential. A knowledgeable attorney from Law Office of Michael L. Fell can provide invaluable advice, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the negotiation process. They can also help in accurately presenting your financial situation and advocating for a fair and equitable spousal support arrangement.

Modifying Spousal Support

It’s important to understand that spousal support is not necessarily set in stone. Either party can request a modification of the support order if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a substantial increase or decrease in income, remarriage of the recipient, or significant changes in the health of either party.

At Law Office of Michael L. Fell, we are committed to guiding our clients through the intricacies of spousal support, ensuring they receive or pay a fair amount. For comprehensive support and expert advice, contact us at (949) 585-9055 . Our team is here to help you navigate the legal terrain of spousal support, securing your financial future post-divorce.