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What is spousal support?

If you get a divorce in West Virginia, the court may order you to pay or your spouse to pay spousal support. This term, according to the West Virginia Legislature, simply means alimony or support paid to help the other spouse meet living expenses. Either spouse may pay it. The court figures the amount unless there is a prenuptial agreement in effect that lays out spousal support terms.

If the court orders spousal support, you may pay or receive it monthly. You also may pay it a one-time lump sum. You will usually pay it from income, but the court may sometimes order the sale of assets to pay for it or award assets as part of the payment or as the whole payment.

Do keep in mind that support is revisable. Whether you are paying it or receiving it, you or your spouse may request a review and revision of the agreement by the court. When making decisions to award support, the court does allow evidence of any misconduct in the marriage that led to the divorce. For example, if your spouse had an affair and it led to your divorce, the court may consider that when making an alimony decision.

Spousal support can be permanent, which just means you pay or receive it until one of you dies or there is a legal end. It can be temporary, which means that it is paid only during the divorce proceedings. Support can also be rehabilitative, which is when the spouse receiving it is able to begin supporting him or herself. It may have a time limit on how quickly this must happen. Finally, some support may be paid in gross, which means it is not tax deductible. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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