Spousal Support Attorney
in Little Rock, Arkansas

Every year, thousands of couples in Arkansas decide to tie the knot. Also every year, for every 1,000 married women in the state, nearly 12 will get divorced, giving Arkansas the highest divorce rate in the country.  

In most marriages, couples combine incomes, build assets, and accumulate debt together. When they divorce, everything must be divided — and sometimes, one spouse may need ongoing financial support from the other to survive. Spousal support often is the most complicated and contentious part of the process.

If you are considering divorce, have started the process, or have been served divorce papers, you may have questions about how spousal support may apply to your situation. The Scholl Law Firm can help you find answers to questions about alimony and the rest of the marriage dissolution process. Attorney Scott A. Scholl has been answering questions from family law clients in Little Rock and Conway, Arkansas for more than 20 years.

Spousal Support in Arkansas

Spousal support (also known as “alimony”) is the court-ordered payments one spouse makes to the other during the divorce process or for a period after the divorce is final. Who pays alimony (if either spouse) depends on need, income, and resources — not gender.

If spousal support is awarded, it will be one of three types:

  1. Permanent spousal support may be awarded in the dissolution of a long-term marriage. The recipient spouse is typically unable to become self-supporting due to age, disability, or long-term absence from employment outside the home.
  2. Temporary spousal support is awarded to a spouse who needs financial support during the divorce process. Once the divorce decree is issued, temporary support will cease.
  3. Rehabilitative spousal support is designed to support a spouse who left the workforce to stay home with children, was responsible for domestic duties in the marriage, or supported the paying spouse while they advanced their career. For example, it may be awarded for a period of time to a spouse who was the income-earner while the other spouse attended medical school. Upon awarding rehabilitative spousal support, the court will enter a date for the support to end or to be reevaluated.

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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.

Spousal Support Attorney Serving
Little Rock, Arkansas

Whether you will likely pay spousal support or be awarded support, Scholl Law Firm, P.L.L.C. is dedicated to providing the best representation available. If you are considering divorce or have started the process, it is time for you to have your questions about spousal support answered. Call now to schedule a consultation!