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How is spousal support determined?

Let's say that you and your husband or wife have decided to file for divorce. Your marriage is untenable, and it is time for the two of you legally end your union. One of the issues that could come up in your divorce is the matter of spousal support, sometimes referred to as "alimony."

This is a provision that sees one of the spouses pay the other to help that other spouse financially adjust to their post-divorce life. It often reflects a career they may have given up or education they skipped to pursue their relationship (and marriage) with the paying spouse.

But how is spousal support determined? How much does the paying spouse have to give the receiving spouse, and for how long?

These questions are tough to answer specifically because every case is a little bit different. The factors involved in one divorce are highly unlikely to be the same to another divorce. However, there are some elements that will always be considered when determining alimony.

First, the general physical, mental and emotional states of the spouses matter. So does the financial situations of the spouses, but that really should go without saying. The length of the marriage and the standard of living during the marriage are two other factors that are very important in determining alimony. In addition, each spouse's ability to financially support themselves is important, as is their ability to receive re-training or education to get back to work.

Depending on the case, spousal support could be awarded for a certain amount of time or indefinitely. It all depends on the case.

Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," Accessed Feb. 18, 2016

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