Spousal Support Attorneys In Anchorage and Matanuska Valley, Alaska
Spousal support, also known as alimony, refers to the money one spouse must pay the other to level the financial picture after a divorce. For instance, when one spouse earns more than the other, the court may order the higher-earner to provide financial payments to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce and sometimes after the final divorce. Many divorcing spouses either decide to waive spousal support or agree that one spouse should pay the other a certain amount for a specific period. When spouses can't agree on their own, a family court judge will make the final decision.
Either spouse can request spousal support, though the court will only award support if the requesting spouse can demonstrate a need for financial assistance and the other spouse can pay. It is common for both spouses to experience a drop in economic stability after a divorce, primarily due to the need to maintain two households on the same amount of income that formerly supported one.
How Does The Court Determine Spousal Support?
There is no predictable formula for the court to determine spousal support, and the judge has broad discretion when creating a final award. Couples have the right to develop their own agreement for spousal support (the amount, duration, and payment method) without the court’s help, but they must put the agreement in writing.
However, unless the couple agreed otherwise in writing, the court may modify spousal support awards in the future. If a recipient spouse remarries, the paying spouse can file a motion with the court requesting termination of support.
When calculating spousal support, the judge will consider the following factors:
- The length of the marriage (short-term marriages are less likely to see spousal support awards);
- Each spouse's age and health;
- Both spouses’ ability to earn, including their educational backgrounds, training, employment skills, work experiences, length of absence from the job market, and custodial responsibilities for children during the marriage;
- The financial situation of each spouse, including availability and cost of health insurance;
- The conduct of the parties, such as whether either spouse unreasonably depleted marital assets;
- Marital property division awards in the divorce; and
- Any other factor the court determines to be relevant.
Spousal Support FAQ
Alaska courts offer three types of spousal support: temporary, rehabilitative, or reorientation.
There are a few ways to pay spousal support in Alaska – lump-sum, property, or periodic payments. The most common method is asset allocation.
Reaching a settlement agreement often includes a specified list of reasons that would end spousal support. These reasons typically include remarriage of the spouse being supported or a specific event such as receiving a degree that leads to employment.