When it comes to divorce, some people may think that spousal support, or alimony, is common. However, not all divorce agreements require support from one former spouse to another.
The judge determines if alimony is necessary based on a variety of factors. If ordered, spousal support may be temporary or more long term, depending on various things.
According to FindLaw, the purpose of alimony is to limit unfair economic effects that may result from a divorce. If one spouse was the main breadwinner, the court may order him or her to pay a monthly amount to the other spouse to help continue to have the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage.
Some of the factors a judge considers when making an alimony decision include:
- Length of marriage
- Current employment and income of the lower earner
- Childcare responsibilities and health-related limitations
- Education and skills of the lower earner
- The past support of one spouse to further the other’s education or career successes
- The ability of the main breadwinner to pay for support
When support ends
According to the California Courts, there are a few circumstances that outline when spousal support ends. The judge may order it for a specific amount of time, perhaps to allow the other spouse to receive an education or once the children begin college. Once this date passes, support can cease.
Remarrying by the spouse receiving support constitutes the end of payments. Support also ends when one of the spouses dies.
It is also possible to change the support amount. A common reason for this is that there is a significant change in one of the ex-spouse’s income.