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How a request for spousal support is handled during divorce

Alimony can be one of the most important topics a divorcing couple must address during their divorce. As a result, it pays to know as much as possible about what alimony is and how it is awarded during the divorce process.

Alimony may also be referred to as "spousal support" or "spousal maintenance," but generally refers to a payment made by one of the former spouses to the other former spouse following the divorce. Because of the nature of spousal support, and what it is designed to do, it can sometimes lead to acrimony and disputes during the divorce process. Spousal support is generally designed to help a lower-earning or non-earning spouse with the adjustments needed to transition to financial self-sufficiency following divorce.

Spousal support may be awarded, for instance, to a spouse who remained in the home to care for children and the household and did not work or earn an income during the marriage. The family law court uses a statutory formula to determine spousal support and if it will be granted, how much and for how long. The family law court will also examine different factors to determine spousal support, such as the length of the marriage, the paying spouse's ability to pay alimony and the recipient spouse's need for spousal support.

Spousal support can be a challenge for divorcing couples, which is why it is beneficial to know under what circumstances it may be awarded and for how long. Being familiar with what to expect may take some of the uncertainty out of how a request for spousal support will be handled and help divorcing couples resolve their concerns related to it more favorably for both parties.

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