Spousal support gives a lower-earning spouse the means to financially care for themselves after divorce.
While alimony is not mandatory, separating spouses should familiarize themselves with these facts about spousal support in case their financial situation changes before finalizing the divorce.
1. Every situation is unique
The state of Oaklahoma considers many factors when determining spousal support. Most importantly, one spouse must have the income to cover the financial needs of the other. While no strict formula exists to calculate spousal support, judges review many of the same things when calculating support:
- length of marriage
- parental responsibilities
- standard of living
- length of time the non-supporting spouse needs to obtain training or education to support themselves
- value of individual estates
- education level of each spouse
- health condition
The courts are not required to consider all of these items when determining alimony, and other factors may impact the decision.
2. Spousal support is taxable income
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed how spousal support gets taxed. For divorces after 2019, the paying spouse now pays taxes on their earnings before sending money to the ex-spouse, and the receiver no longer has that responsibility. This arrangement may increase the total tax liability since the higher-earning spouse pays the tax.
3. Either party can petition for an amendment
Sometimes situations change, and one or both people may want to amend the spousal support arrangements. The most common reasons for modifications are:
- death of either person
- loss of either person’s job
- the receiver remarries or moves in with another person
Knowing the facts about spousal support may help people decide if they should seek alimony.