Not every divorce involves an order to pay spousal support. There is a common misconception that spouses should have the same resources and standard of living that they shared over the course of a marriage.
Courts do not generally require people paying support to give half of their income to a former spouse. Here are a few important things to know regarding how courts make determinations about support.
Resources are a key factor
The respective assets and income of the parties to divorce proceedings will influence rulings. For this reason, courts typically divide marital property before issuing a final order about ongoing spousal support payments. However, a court may enter an interim order for support before a divorce decree is final.
An order may intend for support to be a bridge to financial independence
Courts will often consider how long it will take for a spouse to enhance his or her earning capacity or find new employment. In this sense, support may not be an indefinite means of support but rather a temporary form of assistance until someone can support themselves stably.
Filing for fault-based divorce will probably not make a support order higher
For the most part, fault does not affect the amount or duration of a spousal support award. The only type of alleged wrongdoing that is likely to bear heavily on a court’s evaluation is financial misconduct.
It may be helpful for divorcing spouses to reach a mutual agreement about support. An agreement can include reasonable stipulations about events that would merit an adjustment to payment amounts or terminate an obligation to pay support.