Post separation support and alimony are recognized remedies that enable a dependent spouse to meet reasonable needs during and after a divorce. In awarding spousal support, the court must take into account a number of economic factors. The court may entertain an application for post-separation support at any time after spouses have separated. A judge may require a hearing on the issue of post separation support. Post Separation Support claims are often decided by written affidavits rather than a trial or hearing. Alimony claims on the other hand, if not settled by agreement, are decided by the court after a trial. The alimony trial generally does not take place until after the Equitable Distribution claim has been decided.

The court will consider several factors in an award of post-separation support and alimony. They include:

  • the misconduct of either spouse
  • the earnings (from whatever source) and earning capacity of each spouse
  • extent to which a spouse’s earning potential and financial obligations are affected by custody of minor children
  • assets of the marriage other than earnings (medical benefits, retirement, social security and dividends)
  • the length of the marriage
  • the family’s standard of living
  • significant contributions of one spouse to the earning potential of the other (education, training, etc.)
  • the ages of the spouses
  • the physical, mental or emotional conditions of each of the spouses
  • the relative education of each spouse and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable a dependent spouse to meet reasonable economic needs
  • Assets and liabilities of the spouses, including those separate from marital property
  • the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
  • tax ramifications of an award of alimony
  • previous considerations made by the court during equitable distribution of marital property
  • any other factor the court deems appropriate

Post separation-support and alimony, when ordered by a court, terminate automatically upon the occurrence of the first of the following events:

  • when all payments specified in order have been made;
  • the dependent spouse remarries;
  • the dependent spouse engages in cohabitation;
  • the dependent spouse dies; or
  • the supporting spouse dies.

In order to receive post-separation support or alimony, a finding of dependency by a court is not required. If the parties can agree to the issues surrounding spousal support, the terms of alimony can be incorporated into your Separation Agreement.

For more information on Post Separation Support and Alimony, see our posts:


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