Termination of Spousal Support
Spousal maintenance or "alimony" has always been a contentious part of divorce. There is a widespread perception that spousal maintenance is a form of "punishment" for divorce, and while this is not true, the perception has been strengthened by tales of husbands who are forced to pay their wives alimony for long periods of time, or even for the rest of their lives.
We had earlier taken a look at how a divorce decree is to be modified. In this article, we take a look at how a spousal maintenance decree can be terminated and under what circumstances such termination takes place. We will also see that this procedure can be very complex and a good attorney is needed to get the desired result.
When is Spousal Maintenace Terminated?
Spousal support can be terminated under one of many circumstances. In case the person who is at the receiving end of spousal support becomes self sufficient or remarries, there is a strong case for termination of spousal support. Even if cohabitation can be proved to the extent that the financial responsbility is shared, spousal support may be terminated.
Of course, support is terminated immediately in case of death.
As far as the person paying support is concerned, the necessity of paying spousal support can be removed if they experience a significant change of circumstances. This can be quite tricky to show, since the question of fairness or unfairness takes paramount place in any discussion and showing it can be extremely difficult even when it's patently obvious.
For example, if the paying spouse loses their job or shows that he/she will face extreme hardship, a strong case can be made out for the termination of spousal support.
Can Spousal Support last forever?
In certain circumstances, spousal support can last a very long time indeed. This can depend on the duration of the marriage and whether the court considers it to be "long term." Generally speaking, a marriage can be considered long term if it lasts for more than 10 years. In this situation, it is possible for the court to award lifetime alimony barring a significant change in circumstances.
Each divorce is treated on a case by case basis and it is extremely difficult to generalize. Our Marrison Law attorneys can help you get the best judgement in a case when you need to either end, or preserve alimony in court.