Spousal Support vs. Maintenance
The first thing to understand about alimony is that it is not a form of retribution or punishment. Alimony is intended to ensure that one spouse is not placed in financial hardship as the result of separation or divorce. In many marriages, one spouse is the primary earner and as a result, the other spouse lacks the means to independently support themselves following a separation. Alimony ensures the less-well-off spouse can continue to enjoy approximately the same lifestyle they did before the marriage ended.
Alimony actually describes two categories of payments that a court may order: spousal support and maintenance. Spousal support refers to money that one spouse must pay the other while the couple is still legally married. In Fulton County, the Family Court hears cases regarding spousal support. If the couple is in the process of seeking a divorce, then a spouse must separately seek maintenance payments from the Fulton County Supreme Court. While the divorce is pending, a prior Family Court order for spousal support may continue, but it will end (or be superseded by) the Supreme Court’s final divorce decree, which includes any maintenance award going forward.
With respect to the amount of any spousal support or maintenance available, that depends on a number of factors unique to your situation. The court will look at not only your own necessary expenses–such as housing, food, and clothing–but also your spouse’s earnings. In determining a final maintenance award in a divorce, the judge must also consider your overall standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the amount of property the requesting spouse will own post-divorce, and whether the non-requesting spouse has sufficient property to provide ongoing support.
How Can We Assist You With Your Fulton County Alimony Dispute?
Something else to keep in mind about spousal maintenance: It is not exclusively paid by the husband to the wife. Although only about 3 percent of alimony recipients nationwide are men, according to U.S. census data, the Pew Research Center has noted that about one-quarter of married women out-earn their husbands. And alimony is ultimately based on what spouse is in the superior financial position, not their gender.
In many cases spouses do not even think to ask for alimony because they do not understand the law. Conversely, many spouses find themselves defending against a legally baseless demand for alimony. Whatever your situation, our experienced Fulton County alimony lawyers can provide you with guidance and aggressive representation in court. Call The Colwell Law Group, LLC, at 518-300-4487 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team today.