How Is Spousal Support Calculated?
Spousal support is not necessarily automatic. It is not awarded after a certain number of years of marriage, with a certain number of children or when the spouse’s income is at a certain level. Both parties to a divorce are presumed to be self-sufficient, and the burden is typically on the party seeking spousal support to prove otherwise.
At Rogers Sevastianos & Bante LLP in St. Louis, we will work directly with you with a view toward helping you move forward after domestic litigation is over. If you believe you should be awarded spousal maintenance in your divorce or if you expect your spouse to request it, we will fully inform you of your rights and options, work to resolve your case fairly and zealously defend your rights in court, if necessary.
When Is Spousal Support Awarded?
When divorce occurs, each spouse (if able) is expected to take steps to become adequately employed and become and remain self-sufficient. In some marriages, however, when one spouse has been absent from the workforce for a very long time, if they are unable to find work or when there is a great disparity of income, the court may award spousal maintenance. Support may be awarded to a spouse who lacks adequate property and is unable to obtain employment to support their reasonable needs.
How Much Is Spousal Support, And How Long Will It Continue?
Spousal support is not a lifetime obligation. It is intended to serve as a bridge between divorce and self-sufficiency for the spouse receiving the support. In determining the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, the court will consider:
- Financial resources of both parties
- Obligations and assets of both parties
- Duration of the marriage
- Conduct of both parties during the marriage
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Age of the party seeking spousal maintenance
- Physical and emotional condition of the party seeking spousal support
- The time needed to acquire training or education to obtain employment
- Earning capacity of each spouse compared to the other
- The ability of the spouse who would pay maintenance to do so while meeting their obligations
Can Spousal Maintenance Awards Be Modified?
In some cases, a party to a divorce may return to court in the future to ask that spousal support be reduced or terminated, because the party receiving the maintenance no longer needs it or the party paying maintenance can no longer afford to do so. The burden of proof is on the person requesting modification of the maintenance order.
Reasons for modification may include:
- Failure of a business
- Substantial involuntary decrease in income or total compensation package
- Recent retirement from a profession
- Major health issues that impair earning ability
- The marriage of the spouse receiving support
- A substantial increase in the income of the spouse receiving support
If you are facing a divorce that may involve spousal maintenance, schedule a consultation at Rogers Sevastianos & Bante LLP. Our experienced St. Louis spousal support attorneys will work hard to resolve this issue sensibly and fairly with the other party. We can also litigate with dedicated advocacy if necessary.