In our previous post, we shined the spotlight on how fluid the concept of spousal support has become over time. Back in the day when the common model had husbands working and wives taking care of the home, spousal support, or alimony as it was then known, usually involved the ex-husband paying a monthly sum to the ex-wife in the event of divorce.
Today, as our last post noted, alterations in the workforce have led to changes in how spousal support is awarded. The courts have specific factors that the law requires they consider. How much spousal support is eventually granted now more often depends on showing specific need and making a strong legal case for why the help is needed, whatever form of dissolution is sought.
Acknowledging the changes that have occurred in our culture, it should come as little surprise that the gender preference that used to be present in alimony determinations is no longer prevalent.
Couples marrying can be opposite-sex or same-sex today. And while women doing the same job still tend to make less than men, spousal support is determined on the income of each spouse in each case, rather than on cultural norms. Therefore, either spouse might be ordered to pay the other. It all depends on available resources and equitable division.
Nor is spousal support a given. The parties involved can agree to go their separate ways without either paying support to the other. Also, if the incomes of the two individuals are relatively balanced and the marriage was short, the court might decide against any support.
If you are left with the impression that the dissolution of marriage is tantamount to dissolving a contract, you are not far wrong. In the current culture, the objective of the legal system is to be bias free. Protecting your interests means working with an attorney in tune with your needs.