A common misconception is that the husband always pays spousal support to the wife following a divorce. However, spousal support is not gender-based. Everything depends on the circumstances of the marriage.
Usually, the court will award spousal support, otherwise referred to as alimony, based on an existing agreement between the couple or if there is none, the judge will decide how it all goes. The spouse’s ability to pay and the recipient’s needs will help the judge make a decision.
Who pays who?
Spousal support is not a punishment or penalty. It is intended to ensure the receiving spouse maintains the standards of living they were used to during the marriage. The economic status of each couple will determine who makes the payments to the other.
For instance, if you sacrificed your career or further education to take care of the family while the other spouse was the breadwinner, you may be entitled to alimony. Other things the judge may look at include:
- The economic lifestyle of each spouse during the marriage and their ability to sustain it post-divorce
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
- The employability of the spouse
- Any documented history of domestic violence, among other factors
These factors will also determine the amount of spousal support.
How long do spousal support payments last?
Usually, the length of the marriage will determine how long the spousal support will last. Alimony can also end when the parties agree in writing, the court orders so or if the other spouse remarries. The death of the spouse may also terminate spousal payments.
Alimony is enforceable and modifiable. If you are having issues with spousal support as the paying or receiving party, it may be advisable to seek help on how you should address them.