Financial support is important after a divorce, but only if a person really needs it. No party should be getting more or less than they deserve, which is why the court has standards for ruling on alimony, better known now as spousal maintenance. Typically, a higher-earning spouse pays a lower-earning spouse this maintenance to help him or her get back into a comfortable financial position. It's meant to be a safety net, so most of the time, spousal maintenance won't be unlimited.
Spousal support is meant to help a dependent spouse while he or she finds a job, goes back to school, or finds another way to provide for him- or herself. However, this support can't be a complete substitute and shouldn't be used as a long-term solution to enable a spouse not to work. This support is an important issue in many divorces, and it may be one in yours, too.
If it is, you may be wondering how much it will cost you to pay it or how much you'll receive. There is an equation to find the amount that should be paid, but it is up to the judge to decide how much will be paid out by the higher-earning spouse. The equation states that 40 percent of the higher-earning spouse's gross income minus 50 percent of the lower earner's gross monthly income is what should be paid. So, if you earn $200 per month and your ex earns $100 per month, you may have to pay out $30 per month in maintenance, as an example.
There are other factors to consider, too. If the lower-earning spouse put the higher-earning spouse through school or the lower-earning spouse needs support to go back to school, the amount the higher-earning spouse needs to pay could be raised. Our site has more about how this process works.