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Questions About Spousal Support

1. How is spousal support determined?

On a temporary basis, before trial, spousal support is determined based on the ability to pay of the supporting spouse and the need of the supported spouse.  The Court will attempt to maintain the “status quo” during the pendency of the dissolution action.  The Court will often look to a mathematical formula to compute this temporary spousal support payment.

Permanent spousal support is based on a large number of factors including each spouses earning capacity, the assets and obligations of each party, the amount of time spent by one spouse out of the workplace for the benefit of the community, the age and health of the parties and the standard of living of the marriage.  Other factors may include the amount of time a non-working spouse needs to be re-trained.

Permanent spousal support for a short marriage (less than 10 years) usually lasts one-half the length of the marriage, although the Court has discretion to make the period longer or shorter based on particular issues presented.  There is a general expectation that the supported spouse should make efforts to become self-supporting following the dissolution of marriage, and this is expectation is made a part of the Judgment.

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