Spousal support also known as alimony is a form of financial assistance provided by one former spouse to another following a divorce or separation. The courts have broad discretion on whether this support is necessary as well as the dollar amount of monthly payments that should be awarded.
Whether you are pursuing alimony or have been asked for spousal support, a dedicated family law attorney could help you protect your rights. Let a Bethesda spousal support lawyer ensure you are treated fairly throughout the process.
There are three basic types of spousal support a judge can award. One of these types is intended to provide for a spouse during the course of the divorce. The other two only go into effect once the divorce is finalized. A spousal support lawyer in Bethesda could assist with determining the right type of spousal support to pursue.
Alimony pendente lite exists to support a spouse as they go through the divorce process. When the court determines a spouse is likely to receive spousal support following the divorce, they will often award alimony during the course of the divorce as well. This helps ensure that the spouse is not under financial pressure to accept an inadequate settlement offer. However, an award of pendente lite support is primarily to maintain the status quo and will not guarantee a more permanent award in the divorce decree.
The most common form of spousal support, rehabilitative alimony is available for a limited amount of time. This time is generally tied to a certain event, like a spouse obtaining a degree or starting a business. The purpose of this form of alimony is to put a spouse in a position to care for themselves in the long run.
While somewhat uncommon, courts have the power to award indefinite spousal support. As the name suggests, these payments will continue indefinitely until the court takes steps to modify or cancel them. Indefinite support is generally reserved for spouses with disabilities or in situations where there is a large and unfair difference between the two spouses’ living standards.
The judge has the final say on how spousal support payments are made. However, the court will typically accept an agreement between the parties on how these payments are to be scheduled. They could include monthly, bi-weekly, or even quarterly payments depending on the circumstances. A spousal support lawyer in Bethesda could develop a fair payment schedule that the court would sign off on.
While the courts refer to a divorce decree as a “final order,” they are never truly final. A judge has the power to modify a spousal support order or to terminate it entirely.
The courts have broad discretion to consider alterations to a spousal support decree. Under the law, they are entitled to make changes as justice and circumstances require. Essentially, any change in employment, lifestyle, health, or other major life circumstance could be ground for modifying a support order.
For many people, spousal support is vital to their survival following a divorce. This is especially true for spouses that sacrificed their own career opportunities to support their spouse early in their career.
Whether you are seeking alimony or have a spouse that has requested spousal support, the right Bethesda spousal support lawyer could help you protect your rights. Call us today to discuss your options regarding alimony.
The Law Offices of Josephia Rouse, Esq