Learning to adjust after a divorce is not easy. For many individuals, the fiscal deficit can be debilitating.

For this reason, courts tend to award spousal support payments to specific parties. With the new spousal support law in place, this particular group stands to expand.

Previous law

Not all parties qualify for spousal support. Under the previous spousal support law, parties would have to fall within one of four categories:

  1. Lack of sufficient property to provide for the spouses’ needs, within reason
  2. Inability to be self-sufficient through employment or being the custodial parent of a child with an age or condition that should not require the spouse to seek outside employment
  3. Spouse contributed to the other spouse’s educational opportunities
  4. A spouse who was part of a long-term marriage and is of an age that may make the chances of finding sufficient employment slim

Qualifying under one of the categories would allow parties to qualify for spousal support in conjunction with their particular situation.

Changes

The new spousal support law did not fully change the previous spousal support requirements, but rather, added to them. It expanded category three to include contributions to vocational skills, training, and general career and earning abilities. It also added a fifth category for spouses who reduced their career opportunities or income significantly to benefit their spouse.

Possible contradiction

The purpose of spousal support is to provide support to aid divorcing parties with the financial transition to single life. As such, the court does not seek to incentivize those able to support themselves to depend upon spousal support when not necessary. However, these additions to the law seem to contradict that stand by broadening the scope of eligible parties to receive support payments.

For those seeking to receive support, as well as those required to pay it, understanding the implications of this new law is critical. It may be beneficial to review the law in full and consult with a knowledgeable professional to determine the best course of action.