Getting my divorce settled

What You Need to Know About Spousal Maintenance

If you are filing for divorce from your spouse, you may need to pay them spousal maintenance. This is a type of allowance issued to your spouse each month toward their living expenses. It is different from child support and may be required in addition to costs for your child. Here are some things to know about spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance Is Not Issued Automatically

The first thing you should know about spousal maintenance payments is that it is not an automatic process. If you are the paying spouse, you won't be required to pay it immediately after filing for divorce. Your spouse will need to apply for this benefit within a specific time frame after starting divorce proceedings. They may have trouble getting the payments if they wait too long to apply for them. You can also avoid having to go through the court system if you agree out of court how much to give them each month for reasonable living expenses.

A Variety of Factors Will Be Considered

When your spouse applies for spousal maintenance, the courts will look at a variety of different factors to decide whether they will be awarded the payments and how much you will be required to give them. Income of both you and your spouse is a big deciding factor. If you were the only spouse working, expect to pay for at least basic living expenses of your spouse. However, if you both earn about the same amount, the courts will likely not approve the application. Some other things that the courts will take into account include your debts and property, health status, age, and whether or not your spouse is able to earn income.

Courts Look at the Situation For Both Individuals

Keep in mind that you also have some protection, so you don't need to worry about ending up with less money than your spouse. The reason the courts look at different factors is because they want to leave you with enough for your own living expenses as well. For this reason, you can request to have the courts look at the case in the future and adjust how much money you pay for spousal maintenance. This may include finding out that your spouse has gotten a job, they are now earning more money than they used to, or they are in a de-facto relationship. If they get married, you will no longer be required to pay any maintenance payments.

It is highly recommended that you consult a divorce attorney shortly after filing so that you can get help with spousal maintenance and other things that may come up. Contact a company like Stokes Legal for more information.