Who May Be Entitled to Spousal Support?
Either spouse may request to be awarded spousal support. In general, one spouse must demonstrate the need for spousal support, and the other spouse must have the financial ability to pay it while meeting their own financial obligations.
There are no specific guidelines judges must comply with in awarding spousal support, but the court will consider several factors, including:
- The length of the marriage
- The current and anticipated earning ability of each spouse
- The assets and debts accorded to each spouse in the division of marital property
- The standard of living during the marriage
Spousal Support Calculation,
Modification, and Taxes
There is no formula judges are required to use when calculating the amount of spousal support one spouse should pay the other, but Arkansas case law has suggested that 20% of the payor’s net pay is appropriate for a recipient custodial parent, in addition to any child support order.
Typically, spousal support payments will be made monthly for the ordered duration, usually via withholding from the payor’s paycheck. Some paying spouses may instead pay one lump sum if they have the means to do so.
Spousal support may be modified by the court due to a significant change in financial circumstances, if either spouse dies, if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates in a romantic relationship with someone else, or if the receiving spouse has a child by someone else and receives court-ordered support for that child.
In divorce cases settled after January 1, 2019, the payer is no longer able to deduct alimony payments from their income taxes, and the recipient is no longer required to report the spousal support as income. Since this change affects each spouse’s income and tax burden, it is wise to discuss awarded income and tax implications with your attorney.
Choose an Attorney You Can Trust
A spousal support attorney can help you navigate the divorce process and advocate for you — whether you pay spousal support or receive it — and provide a buffer between you and your ex-spouse when emotions run high. Choosing an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney to advocate for you and your best interests is a wise decision.