Basic Spousal Support Facts to Remember
Ask the Divorced Guy! Ask the Divorced Woman!
Today spousal support is somewhat of a rare thing. Many people believe it is assumed, but nearly one out of six divorce cases even consider it as an option.
In the past the wife was almost always the recipient, but the courts no longer view gender as a consideration. In most states marital conduct is also not a consideration. It is purly a decision made due to the economic consequences of each spouse. If an agreement between spouses is reached out of court, the court will give it significant consideration.
Temporary spousal support is more common and occurs at time of separation. It is either agreed upon or an order is issued. The temporary support is generally intended to try to preserve the standard of living of the family. Of course it is rather difficult for a family's income to suddenly be maintaining two households, so the standard of living most often tends to decline.
Here are some of the general factors considered for permanent support :
- The ability and time for each spouse to gain employment.
- The employability of each spouse.
- The future earning capabilities of each spouse.
- Who will have custody of the child (will the custodial parent be required to work).
- The length of marriage.
- The ability for one spouse to pay the other.
- The tax consequences of each spouse.
- The age of each spouse.
- The length of time support will be needed.
There are basic requirements for support to qualify as alimony under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Support that is considered alimony is recognised as income therefore must be taken into account when filing federal income tax. Typically, the spouse who pays support may deduct the payments as an expense.
Federal legislation now requires most companies that provide employer-sponsored group health plans to give divorced spouses the same group rate for up to three years.
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