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When a couple divorces, determining whether alimony or spousal support should be paid, how much it will be, and how long it will be paid for can be a very contentious matter. But what is spousal support? Commonly known as alimony, spousal support is usually based on a variety of factors, such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of the spouses, and the division of assets upon divorce. The two main types of alimony/spousal support ordered by family law judges are time-limited (also knowns as “rehabilitative”), and permanent (also known as “lifetime” or “indefinite”).
Consider contacting a Fairfield County alimony/spousal support lawyer with questions about an alimony issue you are having. Perhaps you are divorcing and would like help obtaining alimony, or need assistance either modifying or enforcing an existing spousal support order. Alternatively, you may wish to speak with a family law attorney if your current alimony payments are unjust or you believe you should not be paying them at all, especially if changes in circumstances since the divorce have occurred.
There are three main components to be considered in most alimony/spousal support cases: (a) amount; (b) duration; (c) future modifiability. Put another way, the three questions to be discussed with your Fairfield County attorney are these: (a) how much alimony will be paid; (b) how long will the alimony be paid for; (c) can the alimony be modified in the future as circumstances change?
If a divorcing couple cannot negotiate a spousal support arrangement on their own, one of the parties and their Fairfield County attorney could ask a judge to intervene and decide the matter for them. There is no absolute right under Connecticut law to receive spousal support. A judge would determine whether alimony is warranted given the facts of a particular case and, if so, then determine the term and amount of alimony to be paid. The factors that a judge must consider when it comes to spousal support are essentially the same as those used in asset division and include, but are not limited to:
Despite Connecticut being a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning there does not have to be any showing of wrongdoing for a divorce to be granted, the issue of fault may be relevant to a spousal support determination.
The age and health of either spouse could be an important factor when it comes to spousal support, as does the employment and earnings history and future capacity of the parties. If one party has reduced or lesser capability to economically support themselves due to their age or a medical condition, it may be necessary for the spouse earning income to support them financially.
Another critical factor a judge will look at when making a spousal support determination is the dependent spouse’s present and future financial needs. For instance, the party seeking spousal support could be disabled and largely unable to support themselves financially, or have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time, limiting their future employment options and/or income.
In the course of advising a client, a Fairfield County alimony lawyer may wish to explain that state courts are empowered to order three different types of spousal support. Those are as follows:
This type of spousal support, also known as pendente lite, can be ordered to help one spouse make ends meet during the divorce process, which can take anywhere from six months to a year or more to complete.
Spousal support is said to be rehabilitative when it is ordered to be paid only until the receiving spouse is able to become financially self-sufficient. This may apply if the receiving spouse just needs time to prepare themselves to be independent and return to the workplace. Rehabilitative alimony is paid for a fixed term.
This type of spousal support does not have a fixed end, aside from the death of either party and a judge may order it if the spouse seeking alimony has little or no earning capacity due to disability, advanced age, or some other reason.
The amount of alimony or spousal support to be paid can be a fixed amount of dollars per week or month or can be based on a percentage of income; i.e., 30% of the payor’s gross or net income. There are important strategic considerations at play in determining whether to have alimony set at a specific dollar amount versus a percentage based system.
If you anticipate that spousal support will be a contested issue in an upcoming divorce or separation, it may be essential to work with a Fairfield County spousal support lawyer instead of handling it on your own. Whether you are in a position of potentially receiving or paying spousal support, there is too much on the line for you to navigate the process without legal representation.
Spousal support could secure your financial stability, or it could be a series of ruinous payments. To protect your bests interests, contact a Fairfield County spousal support lawyer today and explore your legal options.