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Spousal support refers to money or other assets that a former spouse is ordered to pay his or her former partner. Awarding spousal support can involve many complexities and has to take both compassion and fairness into account. In the majority of cases, the primary wage earner will be required to pay spousal support to the other spouse. Unlike alimony, spousal support may be awarded during a period of separation prior to and after a divorce.   Spousal Support Payments   The dollar amount and duration of payments will be determined according to the laws of the state where the divorce will be heard. Typically, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act suggests to consider the following factors when determining the terms of spousal support:  
  1. The age, health, and current financial status of the former spouses. It is important for the court to take into account each spouse?s ability to remain in the workforce and each spouse?s available resources to remain financially stable. If a spouse is unable to work and support him or herself, he or she may require more support.
  2. The couple’s standard of living during the marriage and the length of the marriage. The joint wealth of the couple should be split up based on each spouse?s financial contributions during the marriage.
  3. The length of time, and the cost of training, the recipient of spousal support will need to become self-supporting. If one spouse does not have enough education or skills to take care of him or herself financially after the divorce, the other spouse should have to pay at least some of the costs of such education or training.
  4. The ability of the support-paying spouse to support the recipient while supporting themselves. Lastly, the courts should consider how a support order will financially impact a paying spouse. The order of support should not cause the paying spouse and financial distress.
Spousal support can be awarded before or after a divorce. The court may also choose to award this support temporarily or permanently. It is in each partner?s best interest to hire a lawyer through this process. Family law is rapidly changing, and it helps to work with someone with knowledge and experience. A family lawyer can protect each partner?s rights and ensure they are getting a fair deal . Many family lawyers offer free initial consultations such as the divorce lawyers Peoria IL locals trust, so you have nothing to lose by speaking to one.  

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*Mark L. Scroggins is *board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Unless otherwise noted, other attorneys are not *board-certified.

**Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service, awarded to Mark Scroggins 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)

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