Spouses owe each other a duty of support, and this does not go away during separation and the time pending the divorce.

Child Support

Child support is paid to the parent that has primary (or domiciliary) custody of a child. It is calculated solely on the gross incomes of the parties using a complicated formula. We can help you calculate the amount of child support that is due to you or that the court would likely order you to pay.

Interim Spousal Support

While the divorce is pending, one spouse may owe the other monthly support until the divorce is final. This is “interim spousal support.” If one spouse is unable to live in the manner they are accustomed to, and the other spouse can afford to pay, spousal support is going to be due. As a practical matter, though, most couples are not able to maintain two separate households in the standard of living they enjoyed together during the marriage, and there has to be a good bit of compromise.

This kind of support ends when the divorce is finalized unless there is a claim for permanent support, in which case it can last longer. Interim spousal support is due regardless of “fault” in the divorce.

Final Periodic Support

Nowadays, final periodic support, or what is sometimes known as “permanent alimony,” is uncommon. This is support that is paid after the divorce is finalized and lasts until one of the parties dies, or the recipient remarries or starts living with someone in the manner of married couples (“shacks up”).

A person is only entitled to final periodic support if they are free from fault in the divorce, they need the support, and the other party is able to pay. Because it is based on need rather than maintaining a standard of living, the award is typically going to be less than interim support.

If a spouse works or is able to work, it is unlikely that they will be able to show a need for support. Also, while fault is normally not an issue in a divorce, when a party seeks final periodic support it becomes an issue. A hearing for support then becomes a lot of airing of dirty laundry which most people try to avoid. For these reasons, most parties do not truly seek final support, though a claim for it may be put in the petition in order to allow the extension of interim support, giving a little flexibility in negotiations.

Preparing for a Support Claim

No matter which side of a possible support claim you may be on, it is important to start gathering information and preparing a budget as soon as possible. If you want to receive support, you need to be able to show a need. If you may have to pay support, you need to be able to show how much you are able to pay.

Collect documents which prove your income and expenses such as pay stubs, check registers, copies of bills, etc. Prepare a monthly budget which includes your income and expenses and be prepared to back up your numbers. If there are some expenses you have that are paid less often than on a monthly basis, such as car insurance, calculate the per-month expense for those items by dividing the expense by the number of months a payment covers.

Call Us Today

If you are in need of child support or are paying too much in support, call us today at (985) 853-8557 to see if we can be of help.

Allison & Allison Family Law