Alimony awards, also called “spousal support,” are usually granted at the court’s discretion upon a determination, which takes into account certain factors, that spousal maintenance is necessary. Some of the factors considered when determining alimony payments include the education of the spouses, their respective work experiences, income histories, ages, health, the length of the marriage, and the time either spouse has spent out of the work force. Alimony may be either temporary (often called “rehabilitative alimony”) or permanent. The court grants rehabilitative spousal support when one spouse has been disadvantaged in order to equalize the burden of the divorce.
In recent years, children have increasingly been called upon to be witnesses in their parents’ divorce proceedings. In some contested fault-based divorces, children have supplied testimony as to cruelty or adultery by one of the spouses. In other instances, children have been a part of custody matters, including offering testimony as to being poorly supervised by one of their parents and as to any neglectful conditions in the family home.
Military divorce involves a member of the uniformed services and his or her spouse, who may or may not be in the services. Even though military divorce may be similar to a usual divorce, there are a few differences, such as legal protections, jurisdiction of court, residency requirements for filing for divorce, division of military retirement benefits or pension, and provision for child support. A service member facing a divorce should be aware of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act of 2003 and the Uniform Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).
In divorce, financial discovery concentrates on the economic aspects of the marriage and the spouses’ financial circumstances. Detailed financial discovery allows both spouses to obtain the information needed to present a complete and accurate representation of the family’s assets and liabilities. With that information, the divorce court can fashion a fair marital property division and an appropriate support order.
One issue that arises in divorce proceedings is the use and possession of the family home, particularly when the spouses are living in the same house and both require use and possession of the home. If the parties have minor children, the custodial parent usually receives the right to use and possess the home in order to safeguard the children’s interest. This right is given to the custodial parent as a form of maintenance or support, in the court’s discretion. The right given to one of the spouses is limited to a specific period after the divorce, which is determined by the court. That benefit may last in some form until the parties’ youngest child no longer is a minor.