Spousal support is meant to provide financial assistance to the lesser-earning spouse and can be temporary or permanent.
When deciding whether to award spousal support, how much it should be, and how long the order should last, a court must review numerous factors.
The court will review how much each spouse earns and their financial resources, which can include paystubs, account statements, and asset reports. It will also determine a reasonable amount of basic living expenses for each spouse, like housing, food and transportation.
Usually, the court’s goal is to ensure that the lower-earning spouse receives financial support sufficient for them to maintain a similar standard of living after the divorce. Also, the length of the marriage can factor into the amount of spousal support. If one spouse made contributions within the home, like childcare and support of the other spouse’s career, that will be part of the decision.
If one spouse has a physical or mental health condition that affects their ability to work, that may also affect the amount of support.
How support is used
Spousal support must be used as specified by the court. Usually, it can be used for essential needs, including healthcare expenses. This may include health insurance premiums and medical bills.
If the receiving spouse needs additional education or training to become financially independent, they may choose to use all or a portion of the support to pay for programs to advance their career.
The receiving spouse may use the support to find a new home and for moving expenses as well. The court can address any concerns the paying spouse has with how the spousal support is spent.