Also called alimony, spousal support is a factor in many divorces. One spouse can request that the other remit payment to ensure he or she experiences the same standard of living as was enjoyed during the course of the marriage. While state laws usually govern the spousal support process, Forbes explains the factors that are commonly used to make these calculations. 

The five common factors include the duration of the marriage, age and health status of both parties, the requesting spouse’s financial needs, the paying spouse’s income, and their married lifestyle. The way assets are divided also has an impact on whether spousal support is provided. For instance, if a spouse receives a large portion of the marital property, the court may ultimately decide that alimony is not warranted in that case. For this reason, spousal support decisions are commonly made towards the end of the divorce process, after other issues have already been hashed out.

Alimony is most often provided after long marriages. In this case, a person will claim that they’re unable to secure gainful employment capable of recreating their married lifestyle. A person may lack the necessary training to perform certain jobs, which is often the case when one spouse has been the primary breadwinner. In this case, spousal support can be provided temporarily until a person has received the proper training or education.

When it comes to modifying spousal support orders, many courts make them unmodifiable to prevent future disputes after the divorce has been finalized. If an order is put in place indefinitely, the order usually expires after the recipient dies or remarries. If your financial situation changes and you’re having trouble making spousal support payments, it’s best to confer with an attorney on how to go about getting an order changed.