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Spousal support: Will this come into play in your divorce?

There are many things to think about as your divorce moves forward. While you may be looking forward to putting this in the past, it doesn't mean you can ignore the many details that are sure to come into play.

Spousal support is a sticking point in many divorces. It's not always the case, but one person may feel that the other should pay alimony.

Here's something to remember: Unlike child support, there is no standard system in place for determining if one spouse should receive support. Adding to this, there is also some gray area in regard to how much is paid and for how long.

What goes into the calculation?

There is no way of knowing for sure what the court will consider when it comes to matters of spousal support, but most take the following details into consideration:

  • The physical condition, emotional state and age of both individuals
  • The length of time the couple was married, with 10 years the "magic mark"
  • The length of time the person receiving spousal support will require to find a job or earn an education
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The ability for the person paying spousal support to also support him- or herself

While all of the above details are important, don't lose sight of the second one: the 10 year mark.

If you were only married a couple of years, the chance of receiving spousal support is not good. However, if you were in a marriage for 10 years or more, your odds increase exponentially. As a general rule of thumb, the longer the marriage the greater chance you have of receiving alimony.

Although you will have a lot on your plate during the divorce process, don't lose sight of spousal support. It doesn't matter if you think you should receive alimony or will have to pay money to your former spouse, you need to understand the system and your legal rights.

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