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As you go through your divorce, the court will decide how to best settle financial matters, including splitting up assets and establishing support. If one of you made the majority of the money for the household throughout the marriage, for example, then spousal maintenance will likely come up. Through that process, the court ensures both parties can separate and move on without significant financial hardship.

Although necessary, spousal maintenance orders can prove quite confusing. So, to avoid feeling a bit lost during your divorce proceedings, simply use this guide to learn all you need to know.  

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Also known as alimony, spousal maintenance is a court-ordered lump sum or monthly payment from one spouse to the other. The payment occurs when one spouse serves as the main breadwinner, bringing in all or most of the money throughout the marriage. The total amount is based on the overall discrepancy in earnings, cost of living, and other key factors. Alimony payments are either awarded short- or long-term, depending on both spouses’ unique circumstances.

How Courts Determine the Alimony Amount

Courts largely use their discretion in determining whether to award alimony and at what amount. They base their findings on a number of key factors that paint a clear picture of both spouses’ current and future financial situations.

Although it differs from case to case, some of these factors include:

  • Total length of your marriage
  • Future earning capabilities
  • Time needed to go through career training  
  • Overall standing of living
  • Ability of the paying spouse to pay spousal maintenance without suffering financial hardship

With all that in mind, the courts will decide whether to award the spousal maintenance payments. They will decide the amount and duration.

Total Length of Time to Pay Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is meant to help the lower-earning spouse cover their living expenses while going through career training. Oftentimes, the court will specify a strict end date for the alimony payments.

If not, then the payments will continue until the court orders them to stop. Once the spouse receiving the payments becomes self-sufficient – or remarries – the court will stop the payments altogether.  

Want to Know More About Alimony Orders?

Every divorce is different from the next, so it’s wise to get personalized legal advice from an experienced family law attorney. So, if you want to know more about alimony orders, especially as they pertain to your divorce, reach out to our team at San Tan Family Law. We’re available at 480-542-1000 to set up a free consultation at a convenient date and time for you. So, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

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