Child & Spousal Support Obtainment
Requesting and Obtaining Child Support or Spousal Support
People often lump child support and spousal support together, but they have more differences than they have in common. Child support is a way for a parent to fulfill his or her obligation to the children of a relationship after a divorce. It is almost a certainty in a divorce that involves children. Spousal support, on the other hand, is up to the court’s discretion. This means that the court can choose not to order it if it does not feel that one of the spouses is entitled to it.
Part of the Divorce Filing
The party who files for divorce can include his or her desired child support and/or spousal support provisions in the initial complaint. The respondent who receives the complaint should issue an answer as soon as possible if he or she wishes to challenge the complaint or propose alternate terms. Otherwise, the court may issue a default divorce order according to the terms of the initial complaint.
Settlement Versus Litigation
It is increasingly common for divorcing spouses to negotiate their own terms rather than taking the matter to court. This can be accomplished on their own or through a process of alternative dispute resolution. Once an agreement has been reached, the couple submits the settlement to the court for approval. The judge will usually grant it unless there is a legal reason not to.
Couples who are unable to come to an agreement can take the case to court. There, a judge will listen to the evidence and issue decisions related to child support and/or spousal support. When it comes to determining child support amounts, the judge will take the child’s interests into consideration. As for spousal support, there are a number of factors that go into a judge’s decision. These include the length of the marriage and each spouse’s income and earning potential.
Duration of Support Payments
Neither child support nor spousal support is intended to last forever. Different states have different rules governing how long a parent’s child support obligation lasts. Some do not require a parent to continue child support payments once the child reaches age 18, while others have exceptions for college students or people with disabilities. Spousal support can endure until the death of one of the parties. However, it can also end when the recipient becomes self-supporting or gets remarried.