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What to expect when spousal support is requested during divorce

Spousal support can be one of the most stressful parts of a divorce, which is why it helps for divorcing couples to know how spousal support is determined. In essence, spousal support is requested by one of the spouses and the family law court will evaluate the request based on a number of factors.

Spousal support is a payment made from one spouse to the other following a divorce. Because of the nature of spousal support, it can be acrimonious. Factors the family law court may consider when evaluating a request for spousal support include: the length of the marriage; the financial need of the spouse requesting the support; the ability of the other spouse to pay; the property and income of each of the spouses; the gross incomes of the spouses; the earning capacity of each of the spouses; the age, physical health and emotional well-being of each of the spouses; and the tax implications of the couple's property settlement agreement.

There are several different types of spousal support that may be available, based on the situation and circumstances of the divorcing spouses. The different types of spousal support include: temporary spousal support; rehabilitative spousal support; reviewable spousal support; and permanent spousal support. Because each type of support, also sometimes called alimony, is designed for different situations, it is helpful for divorcing spouses to be familiar with each type.

Because the divorce process can be emotional and, at times, complex, trained guidance is important to ensure the spouses understand the financial impact of their divorce. Spousal support may be a high-level priority for divorcing spouses during their divorce, which is why they should be prepared for what to expect when a request for spousal support is made.

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