Commonly known as alimony, spousal support are monies paid to a former spouse at the end of a marriage. Not all divorces involve spousal support, as the judge will review a number of factors to determine whether you or your ex should make payments. LeagleBeagle.com explains a few of the reasons why a judge might not order spousal support at the end of a marriage.
Spousal support allows a former spouse to maintain the same standard of living as was present during the marriage. This is why marriages that are short in duration don't often entail an alimony order. The logic goes that it's much easier for both spouses to return to their previous financial position after a shorter period of time has elapsed. This might not be the case with a marriage that lasted 20 plus years, especially if one spouse assumed the role of primary breadwinner during the relationship.
Income is another factor when making alimony decisions. If you earn less than your ex, chances are you won't be ordered to make payments. The same might be true if both you and your former partner make the same amount of money. However, earning capacity will be weighed on both sides, as it has a huge impact on a person's standard of living. If your ex is unable to work due to illness or injury, the court could order you to make payments.
If you're ordered to pay alimony, there are other steps you can take. A vocational evaluation is conducted by the court to determine a person's earning ability. You can petition the court to perform one on your ex, which may result in the payments being lowered or even dismissed completely. Payments are also affected by new marriages or cohabitation, or changes in income. If you're concerned about spousal support payments, it's best to speak with an attoreny to weigh your options.