Spousal support is available for spouses who earn less than their spouse and are separated but not yet divorced. The amount of spousal support due to an individual is based upon the reasonable needs of the person seeking support, as well as the ability of the obligor to pay the support. In determining the reasonable needs of the spouse seeking support and the ability of the obligor to pay it, emphasis is placed on the net incomes and earning capacities of the parties, subject to certain deviations that the court may consider.
Alimony Pendente Lite (APL) is available to a spouse who earns less than the other spouse when the matter enters litigation, so as to provide support for the lesser earning spouse and assistant with payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs required by the litigation. Courts calculate both spousal support and APL by following the formula set forth in the Rules of Civil Procedure, which was recently amended and implemented in 2019 after the changes to the income tax laws.
Alimony is a secondary remedy available to spouses in instances where the court deems it necessary and is future support paid out by one ex-spouse to the other ex-spouse after a divorce decree is entered. In determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of alimony payments, the court considers all of the relevant factors, including:
- The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
- The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
- The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
- The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
- The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
- The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
- The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
- The property brought to the marriage by either party.
- The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
- The relative needs of the parties.
- The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage.
- The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
- Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
- Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
The court may determine that the duration of alimony payments continue for a definite or indefinite period of time, whichever is reasonable given circumstances. In the event of a substantial and continuing change in a party’s circumstances, the court may modify or even terminate an alimony order under the terms of an agreement or by law.
For additional information on your options regarding obtaining or defending against requests for spousal support, APL, and alimony, contact a divorce and family law attorney at MM&D today.
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