When am I obligated to pay for spousal support? 33 Answers as of August 05, 2011

If we have been married less than a year and my wife quit her job to go to school during this time. Does she earn spousal support from me? I myself am 100% disabled and have a fixed income.

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
It is unlikely she will receive spousal support because of your short term marriage.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You are not obligated to pay Spousal Support to your wifeduring or after a divorceunless or until you are ordered to do so by the Court. If you intend to divorce your wife, the sooner you separate (or file for divorce), the shorter your spousal support obligation will be. Spousal Support in short-term marriages is generally awarded (if at all) for 1/2 the duration of the marriage to time of separation. If the marriage is 10 months long, Spousal Support would be for 5 months duration. The amount of Spousal Support is dependent mostly upon your income and her income. If your wife has no income,a (brief) Spousal Support obligation could be ordered by the Court. If you can prove to the Court's satisfaction your wife's employment qualifications (education, training and work experience) and the availability of jobs in a reasonable geographic radius for which your wife is qualified to work, and the salaries those jobs are paying, the Court could "impute" an earning capacity to your wife which, if sufficient, could preclude your wife from getting a Spousal Support order, and could possibly support your receiving an order requiring your wife to pay Spousal Support to you. If you are looking to limit the duration of your potential Spousal Support obligation, the sooner you file a divorce case, the shorter the duration of Spousal Support.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
Short term marriages result in, at most, short term alimony. If you are on a fixed income, the court may determine that you do not have the ability to pay alimony at all. I suggest you consult with a local Family Law attorney to discuss the case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/28/2011
Keri Burnstein, P.C.
Keri Burnstein, P.C. | Keri Burnstein
From the little bit of information you provided, it does not sound like your case would warrant spousal support.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/27/2011
Osterman Law LLC
Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
First, I do not think you owe spouse support to a woman you been married to less than a year. Second, she only needs spousal support where she has a need and you have the ability to pay. I do not think you have the ability. Presenting to the Court what her need will be when she is healthy and capable of working will be an interesting argument. I would love to tell a judge that my client is lazy, capable of work and does not want to work and therefore is not obligated to pay their own bills and should be getting money from the other spouse. I just do not think that argument is going to fly. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    First, I assume that you are asking about what happens after the two of you have separated and the divorce has started. I say this because as long as the two of you are living together, you are kind of automatically supporting her. You are paying the rent, the utilities, buying food, etc. After the divorce has started, there is no requirement to pay her support (properly called "maintenance") unless the court orders it. There are two types of maintenance that the court can order. The first is called "temporary maintenance." This is maintenance that the court may order paid while the case is pending. The other is called "permanent maintenance," although it is not really permanent. It is just longer term post decree maintenance. Whether the court orders either one of these depends on a number of factors. In your case, two of the biggest factors are going to be (1) duration of the marriage and (2) need and ability to pay. Generally, the shorter the marriage, the less likely it is that the court is going to order any significant maintenance. Since you have been married less than a year, I would expect that the court would order little if any maintenance. It seems to me that the fact that you are disabled and living on a fixed income also works in your favor when it comes to maintenance. Depending on exactly what that fixed income actually is, you may not have any ability to pay maintenance and still support yourself. Since she apparently has the ability to work, and thus to support herself, it seems unlikely to me that the court is going to tell you that you have to live under a bridge just so she can go to school.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    It depends. Each county has its own unofficial rules for spousal support. It is likely she would not receive any support, but this important issue is one you need to discuss with your domestic relations attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Under the facts noted, maintenance/spousal support is not likely. It is a very short term marriage and your income sounds limited.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    It is unlikely that the court would order that you pay spousal support for a marriage that lasted under a year. However if there was an agreement between the two of you that your wife quit her job and return to school, you may be required to pay for support for a limited time. In most cases, spousal support is payable for the time of the marriage, unless the marriage is deemed to be one of long term duration (over 10 years). Since you were married for a brief time, you may qualify for a summary dissolution if both of you agree not to seek spousal support from the other. This is a less time consuming and less costly means of approaching a divorce for a brief marriage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Alimony is highly discretionary, but other than possible reimbursement /rehabilitation, there is not much risk of a significant alimony order in a one-year marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    There are many factors involved in a determination of alimony. Among them are the factors you mention (length of marriage, earnings, employment). The likelihood is that for such a short marriage and the income you have, there wouldn't be alimony.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Probably not or if so not for very long .
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    First, we need to establish the meaning of spousal support. In Texas, "Alimony" is unconstitutional - but the legislature passed a law for "Temporary Spousal Support" a few years ago. Temporary Spousal Support is different from "Temporary Support". The former is similar to alimony - we just don't call it that. The latter is support you pay as a means of dividing the community income while the divorce is pending. If you are seeking to determine how much you will have to pay while the case is pending, the answer is extremely difficult to answer without a lot more information - how much are the bills, what is the income, who will pay what, are there kids, child support, medical needs, educational needs, etc. All of this goes into the equation to determine what is most fair and equitable. Again, this is only during the pendency of the divorce, so it is really intended to be a short term stop gap. If you are trying to determine how much Temporary Spousal Support your wife may be entitled to after the divorce, there are general rules that may help you. However, you should know Temporary Spousal Support is not automatic. It is, in fact, jealously guarded by the Texas legal system and there are gate keeping functions. By way of explanation, your wife is not entitled to spousal support merely because you remained married for 10 years. The 10 year rule is a gate keeping function. In other words, if you have not been married for 10 years or there is credible evidence of spousal abuse, she does not get to even ask for spousal support (there are limited exceptions so keep in mind, this is a general rule). Also keep in mind, there is nothing preventing her from asking, the rule is that unless she can get over the first hurdle (through the gate as I explain it) the Court cannot give it to her as a matter of law, unless you agree. (You can agree to do things even if the Judge has no power to make you do that thing - in this context, you could agree to "contractual alimony" or "contractual support" as a part of the division of the marital estate.) Once a spouse qualifies or meets the minimum requirements to seek spousal support, the Court is authorized to order Temporary Spousal Support if the court determines the requesting spouse cannot meet his or her minimum basic needs, there is a disparity in earning power between the parties, and the spouse requesting support did not get enough assets from the division of the community to provide for his or her needs. (This is a discretionary rule, so note, even at this point it is not automatic - and this answer is based on the law as of March 2011, the legislature is looking at this very issue and effective Sept. 1, 2011 it may change). At least as of today, if the Court/Judge decides to award spousal support, there is no set amount, however there are very strict limits. It cannot exceed 20% of your monthly net resources as defined by the family code (net resources means income from all sources less single-1 tax withholdings). It cannot exceed the reasonable and necessary proven needs of the recipient. It cannot be awarded for more than 3 years or for sufficient time for the spouse to become self-sufficient, whichever is shorter in time. Again, there are exceptions that are too detailed to discuss here, but this is the general rule. My firm handles divorce matters, including spousal support issues, for clients in Collin County and Dallas County. If you live in this area, I would be happy to meet with you, discuss the facts, get more information and provide you with a more detailed answer based on your specific circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    Not likely, Apply for a volunteer attorney as people on disability usually are qualified. The wait may be long and you may consider a reduced fee attorney if you are in a hurry.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    It's highly unlikely that your wife will receive any spousal support. If she gets any, it will be for a very short period of time.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Simply stated, your obligation to pay spousal support begins when a judge says it begins - sometime after the divorce case begins. Until that happens, each spouse is legally obligated to financially support the other, but there isn't anything to define what that means in fixed dollars. Once the divorce case is filed, the court will have to decide whether to award spousal maintenance after reviewing all the facts and circumstances, including income, living expenses, debt obligations, etc. . While that decision isn't a simple case of following fixed rules, the major principle involved is a comparison of one person's needs with the other person's ability to pay. No one can give you a firm answer without having much more information, so you need to consult an attorney who can discuss everything with you face to face But, as a rule a marriage of less than a year does not normally justify any significant or long term award of spousal maintenance.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Spousal support is based on the need of the party asking and the ability of the other to pay. The judge can take into account the behavior of the parties when determining the alimony issue. It is very fact specific, so the judge will take into account the short length of the marriage, your disability, and her school situation. Consult with an attorney about the particular facts of your case and how they would affect an alimony claim by either party.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    There are lots of variables that come into play when determining spousal support, but if you have only been married for less than a year, it is highly doubtful that a support award would be granted.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recomend that you retain a divorce lawyer to help you as soon as possible. Alimony depends upon a number of factors which are not all provided in your summary. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    It sounds like a situation where spousal support would be unlikely under Washington law. Given that the marriage was only a year, the courts do not generally give support for more than a few months at best. The fact that she was working and thus has the ability to earn a living also gives the court less reason to feel she needs support from you. Possibly a court could find that, since she is out of work right now, she needs some financial help for a few months in order to relocate and find work again. It also makes a difference whether your disability income is high enough to afford to give her any support. Talk to a lawyer in your area for more information.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC | Bridgette D. Kaczmarek
    There are two types of spousal maintenance in Colorado. The first is temporary spousal maintenance, which is payable from the date the petition for divorce is filed until the date of final orders, or when the final divorce decree is entered. Temporary maintenance is awarded on only a showing of financial need. She would have to show that she is in need of financial support in order to receive temporary maintenance. so long as there is a need and an ability of the other party to pay, spousal support may be awarded on a temporary basis. As for final or permanent maintenance, there are several factors the court must consider prior to such an award. The biggest of these factors is the length of the marriage. If you have not been married for long, i.e. 10 years or less, and so long as she is not disabled and is capable of working, it is highly unlikely you would be liable for permanent maintenance. Of course this is all dependent on your circumstances economically and the judge you happen to get. But it is doubtful she would receive permanent maintenance. Likely she would receive temporary
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If you are married only a year, no she is not entitled to spousal support.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Based on the extremely limited information you provided, it does not sound like she would have a strong claim to spousal maintenance. The court does take into consideration several factors, including the length of the marriage and the parties' abilities to support themselves.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Spousal support would not be ordered in your situation absent extremely unusual circumstances. Your marriage was too short for spousal support to be an issue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    The likelihood of alimony under your circumstances is very, very low. In order for alimony to be awarded, she would have to have a legitimate need and you would have to have the ability to pay. If she is voluntarily unemployed because she is pursuing an education, then she would need to go get a job. Worse case scenario, you might have to help her out for a couple months, but even that is highly doubtful given the very short nature of the marriage. Typically, a claim for alimony wouldn't arise until someone is in at least a moderate term marriage of 7 years or more, although circumstances can exist for it to be established in shorter term marriages. Hope that helps!
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Many things enter into a judge's decision. The length of the marriage and respective incomes are significant factors amongst many others. Her being in school may justify support (or may not). The one thing that is certain is that in a divorce you need a lawyer. Employ one ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The answer to your question would require a full review of your case and the relevant finances. Based solely on the limited information presented, spousal suport would seem very unlikely.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO | Ryan J. Lewis
    No. She will not get alimony
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    It's tough to say with the limited facts you provide. However, it appears that there wouldbe little basis for maintenance, or it would be a small amount and for a short time. There is noformula.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
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