One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce is determining how much money you will need to support yourself. It can be especially tricky if you are a stay-at-home parent who relies on your spouse for basic needs.
A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you get the spousal support that you need. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for temporary spousal support before your case is finalized.
How is it determined?
In most cases, the judge will determine how much spousal support is to be awarded. They will look at the financial circumstances of each party and other relevant factors.
The court will consider how long the parties have been married and whether one spouse is able to support themselves. The court will also consider whether the parties have children together.
If one spouse is unable to support himself or herself, they may be entitled to receive spousal support in the form of “pendente lite” (temporary) alimony.
Once the spousal support order is made, it can be modified if there are substantial changes in one or both of the parties’ circumstances.
This can be done by filing a motion for modification. This can be done after the judgment has been entered, but it must be filed before the end of the case.
What are the requirements?
A judge can order a spouse to pay temporary spousal support during the pendency of a divorce. This type of support is often called “pendent lite” or “pendente lite alimony.”
Temporary spousal maintenance requires that both parties file divorce paperwork and complete the Annual Income Worksheet and Maintenance Guidelines Worksheet (used by the court to calculate the amount of maintenance payments). Failure to fill out these documents correctly can result in no maintenance awards being made.
In addition, the court must consider the vocational skills and employability of each party involved in the case. This is important because judges must take into consideration whether the receiving spouse is capable of becoming self-supporting.
If one spouse has a higher income and the other spouse is low income, a judge will look at how long it took for the spouse with the higher income to obtain their current job and what the earning capacity was like when the marriage started. This will determine if the supporting spouse will receive permanent spousal support or a lower amount of spousal support.
What is the process like?
The process of applying for temporary spousal support during your divorce can be confusing and stressful. You need an experienced family law attorney to help you through this process.
To apply for temporary spousal support, you must file an Order to Show Cause and an Income and Expense Declaration. You also need to serve these documents on the other party.
You may serve these documents by mail or through the court’s e-service program. If you do not serve these documents, the clerk will not allow you to file for a hearing or request a temporary order.
Temporary spousal support generally ends when the case is resolved by trial or if the parties reach an agreement on permanent alimony. You can ask for a modification of your order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
Can a spouse be awarded temporary spousal support?
The courts can order temporary spousal support, sometimes referred to as pendente lite alimony, during the divorce proceedings to help a spouse get through the process. This can be granted while the case is pending and may terminate at the conclusion of the case, either by trial or by agreement after successful settlement negotiations.
However, permanent spousal support is not temporary. It is designed to provide financial relief for the dependent spouse and their children after the marriage has ended.
To determine the amount of permanent spousal support, the court is required to evaluate several factors. This is a fact sensitive determination that cannot simply be determined by plugging numbers into a computer program.
This is why it is important to have experienced representation during a divorce.
A knowledgeable divorce attorney can explain the different legal aspects involved in spousal support and can assist you with determining your rights. Whether you are looking to request a temporary spousal support order or require permanent alimony, we can guide you through the process.