Difference Between Permanent and Temporary Spousal Support

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Marriage is the union of two persons whereby both mutually agree to comply with essential marital obligations. One of the most important marital obligations is to support one another. The support for one another does not depend on the existence of marriage. This support will continue even after the marriage ends or divorce. The support given after divorce is also known as spousal support. 

Spousal support

Spousal support is given to the other spouse after divorce or separation. The purposes of spousal support are:

  1. To provide financial assistance to the spouse for the care of their children, such as education and other basic necessities
  2. To compensate the other spouse who sacrificed his or her income during the marriage
  3. To give financial help to the other spouse for the impact of the termination of the marriage.

The amount of spousal support will depend on many factors. The following are the common factors in determining spousal support:

  1. Spouses’ earnings
  2. Contribution to the household
  3. Duration of the marriage
  4. Essential needs of the recipient
  5. Number of children
  6. Age of spouses and their children
  7. Marital properties

The amount and duration of spousal support may be assessed by a spousal support lawyer. The spouses must engage the service of a spousal support lawyer to know their legal rights after divorce and how they can obtain spousal support.

Spousal support lawyer

Spouses might have a hard time facing the effects of separation or divorce. Drastic changes after separation can be extremely difficult for both spouses and they should not have to deal with it all alone. The spouses must consult a spousal support lawyer to have a guide on what courses of action to take in terms of claiming spousal support. 

The spousal support lawyer will help the spouses to gain an understanding of the complex process of spousal support. The spousal support lawyer will perform the following basic procedures:

  1. Interview the spouses. The lawyer must gather information about the background and circumstances of the spouses to determine the extent of spousal support.
  2. Determine if the spouse is entitled to spousal support.
  3. If the spouse is entitled to spousal support, assess what mode or procedure shall be availed to successfully process the spousal support. 

Two modes of claiming spousal support

The following are the two modes of how the spousal support is claimed:

  1. Filing of a spousal support claim in court. This mode is done through filing an action in a court usually via a document prepared by the spousal support lawyer. It is a tedious process and usually takes time to be settled. The amount that may be claimed as spousal support will depend on the judge’s appreciation of the evidence presented by the spousal support lawyer. It will also depend on the applicable laws. The judge will have to consider several factors before arriving at the final amount. 
  2. Entering into a spousal support agreement. This mode is an out-of-court settlement of the amount of spousal support. It involves a negotiation between the spouses without the intervention of the court. The spouses may ask for the help of a spousal support lawyer to help them draft a spousal support plan. This process is more convenient and can speed up the early settlement of spousal support claims. 

Permanent and temporary spousal support

After separation, the spouses may be awarded permanent and temporary spousal support. The following are their differences:

Temporary spousal support

It is given while the divorce or the claim is pending or under negotiation. It is given to help the low-income earning spouse support and care for their children. It may be ordered by the court during the pendency of the main action. The court is also granted discretion on whether to deny or grant temporary spousal support. 

The purpose of temporary spousal support is to “preserve the status quo” of the spouses. This means that the spouses are placed in the situation they had before the effects of separation. This is to avoid a significant impact on the financial well-being of the low-income earning spouse and their children. 

Permanent spousal support

It is the final judgment of the court after the action for divorce is concluded and finalized. Permanent spousal support may take a longer time to be granted because it depends on the main action for divorce. 

This will only be granted after the litigation process has come to end. The court will usually consider the several factors enumerated above before granting permanent spousal support. It usually lasts for many years or indefinitely depending on the needs of the recipient. 

Duration of spousal support

In temporary spousal support, the duration of the support will start from the time it is granted by the court until the finality of the action for divorce. It is given only for a short duration to cater to the financial needs of the spouses and their children while the main action for divorce is pending.

In permanent spousal support, the duration of support will start from the time it is awarded by the court upon the conclusion of the divorce and will last for a longer period of time. 

The amount of spousal support is already fixed by the court but may be adjusted depending on the needs of the recipient. The period of permanent spousal support will be based on the factors like age, health, or status of the recipient. The common cause of termination of permanent spousal support is the remarriage of the other spouse. 

Final Thoughts

When spouses have decided to go their separate ways, they must not take on things on their own. The spouses will have to consider the help of a spousal support lawyer to guide them on how they can minimize the impact of the separation. The spouses will have to consider the financial well-being of their family. They must consult a spousal support lawyer about how to proceed with setting up spousal support.

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