Spousal support is often one of the most contested when a couple separates. It is unlike child support in many ways and there are many issues that impact the duration and amount of support to be paid. The primary issue in determining if spousal support will be paid is the length of the relationship. If the couple was together for a very short time it is unlikely that spousal support will be ordered at all, even if there is a disparity in the parties respective incomes. If the couple was together for a very long time (20+ years) then it is very likely that spousal support will be ordered if there is a disparity in their incomes.
There is a significant amount of flexibility when determining an appropriate structure for making spousal support payments. Sometimes it is best to make a one time lump sum payment instead of making monthly payments.
For tax purposes, child support and spousal support are treated very differently. The person paying child support has to include the amount of child support being paid in his or her income and pay tax on the income as if it was still a part of his or her income. Spousal support works differently. The person receiving spousal support has to include the money received in his or her income and the person paying spousal support can deduct the amount being paid as spousal support from his or her income. Since the tax consequences are different for child and spousal support, this must be taken into consideration when considering the appropriate amount for each.
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