Divorce Support Payments

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The United States has the highest rate of divorce cases across the world. Over fifty percent of marriages end in a divorce. There are several issues involved with a divorce, (like child support, custody or visitation, alimony, property division, etc.) which gets resolved either by mutual settlement agreement or as decided by the court at its own discretion. Support payments are the key components of such issues. Divorce support payments is the amount of financial aid or maintenance payment that one of the spouses is legally liable to pay to either the other spouse (alimony) or to the children (child support). A family court of the State/county determines the amount based on several factors.

Divorce Support Payments for Children

Divorce child support is the financial aid or maintenance payment that a parent is legally liable to provide their children following the end of a marriage. This is usually paid by the non-custodial parent till the child becomes a minor or continues paying for lifetime for a disabled child.

The Family Court in each state finalizes the amount of child support payment. The court can order any parent, irrespective of sex, to pay this amount. This amount must be paid in the following two circumstances.

  • For the fundamental living requirements of minor children
  • For children, aged 18 and above, who attend school

Every state in the United States has designed child support guidelines. These are referred to by the court to decide the amount of support. Some of the criteria considered by the states while designing these guidelines are as follows.

  • Income of the parents
  • The amount of time spent by each child with the parents
  • If the parent has an obligation to support other children

When the circumstances of the parents get altered, the court modifies the amount of child support payment. As an illustration, the court does not permit to pay child support amount as if a person is a poor college student after the student has advanced in his / her career and is earning more money. Some examples of change in circumstances are as follows.

  • The parent loses his / her job
  • The parent becomes disabled
  • The non-custodial parent gets an increment in income

The steps of modifying the child support amount are as follows.

  • The parent makes a request for modification of the above
  • The court schedules a modification hearing
  • Both parents furnish proofs or evidence that their conditions have altered. Some of these are mentioned below:
    • Payroll check stubs
    • Termination letters
    • Tax returns
    • Medical records of disability
    • Unemployment benefits receipt

Divorce Support Payments for Spouses

The money paid by a divorced partner to his / her ex-spouse after divorce is termed as Spousal Support. Some other terms with identical meaning are Alimony, Family Support or Spousal Maintenance. The major factors considered for allotting the support payment are:

  • duration of the marriage
  • age, physical and mental help of the spouse
  • standard of living during marital status
  • potential earning ability of both spouses
  • education and employment skills of both spouses

Spousal maintenance may be divided as Temporary spousal support (paid for a specified time period), Permanent Spousal support (paid in the long-run until death or remarriage), Rehabilitative spousal support (paid for improvising the employment skills and financial status through job-training or such initiatives), or Lump-sum spousal support (paid as a one-time or lump-sum amount without any periodic commitments)

Modification of spousal payment

A post judgment modification of spousal support implies the following options.

  • Termination of spousal support
  • Increment in the amount received
  • Decrement in the amount paid

Some usual reasons for alteration of spousal support are as follows.

  • Consider that an ex spouse has remarried and has a child. The court concludes that disbursing current support and fulfilling new obligations is a hardship. So, the court decreases the spousal support. However, a given ex spouse is free to voluntarily take the burden of supporting step children
  • A spouse faces an unexpected emergency like huge medical bills. In such an emergency, the spouse can request to increase the received support or decrease the paid support
  • If the recipient of spousal support becomes disabled, such a recipient can request to increment support. If the payer of spousal support is disabled, such a payer can request to decrease support
  • Assume that the recipient begins to cohabitate with other person or remarries or gets employed with high salary. The court concludes that the recipient's requirement for support has reduced or terminated. Now, if the payer requests, the court might decrease or end the support
  • Due to inflation, the cost of living rises. The recipient can state this as an altered circumstance and request an increment in the support

Divorce support payments in terms of child support and alimony, are essential for meeting the expenses of life, especially when the spouse and children are dependent on the earning member. To determine the right and justified amount of support, an attorney can guide the party by alloting the compensation that they are entitled to. The parties however, should be aware of the State laws and regulations that keep on changing in the issue of maintenance.

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