Spousal Support: Crafting A Fair Deal For Both Sides
One of the greatest concerns many people face as they contemplate divorce is whether they will have the means to live and thrive after the dissolution of the marriage. The higher earner may fear that requirements for spousal support will decimate any chance of a future, while a partner who never worked outside the home, or whose earnings were limited, may not be able to imagine going forward without significant provisions from a former spouse. How do the courts mete out a fair financial settlement?
Considerations in Determining Spousal Support
A number of factors must be considered as a court determines the reasonable needs of someone requesting spousal support, including:
- Limited property ownership;
- Ability to support oneself due to child care issues;
- Resources available to the person seeking support;
- Amount of time needed to gain marketable skills;
- Earning capacity compared to that of the former spouse;
- Debts held be the person seeking support;
- Length of the marriage;
- Conduct of both individuals during the marriage;
- Age and health;
- The ability of the person asked to provide support to meet personal needs after providing support;
- Other factors that are determined to be relevant.
In sum, the goal of the court is to ensure that neither individual is left in dire straits following a divorce, particularly when one spouse has significantly more financial stability than the other. To be sure, one cannot squeeze blood from a stone. In other words, the courts can only award a portion of the money available for support.
Changing Spousal Support After a Period of Time
Some divorce settlements give a timeline to support payments—say, support continues long enough to give the receiving individual time to obtain job training. Beyond that, modifications may occur based on changes in circumstances that are significant enough to warrant them (Section 452.370). When such a request is made, the court will analyze resources and expenses of both parties in order to make a judgement. One thing that may weigh into the deliberations is the fact that federal tax laws have changed in recent years, removing a distinct financial advantage from those who pay support. This, as well as new living arrangements, changes in earnings, and other alterations in finances might change the court’s outlook on what is a fair amount of support.
Negotiating the Best Deal
More often than not, divorce attorneys battle it out in order to come to an agreeable settlement. You can count on the experienced Springfield divorce attorneys at Courtney & Mills to work diligently toward the best outcomes for you. Whether that means a settlement or having your day in court, we’ll be by your side every step of the way. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.