How is spousal support awarded in high net worth divorces?

Also known as alimony, spousal support refers to money paid by one spouse to the other after their divorce. Whether the wealthier spouse has to pay spousal support depends on many factors. However, in high net divorces, spousal support is often a major concern, as a significant amount of money is involved.

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Under United States law, the spouse who has a considerably lower income than the other partner may be entitled to spousal support. The purpose of this maintenance is to decrease the severe economic impact on the partner who does not earn a lot or, in most cases, does not have a source of income.

To put it differently, spousal support is a type of assistance for the financially weaker ex-partner to help them live the way they used to before the divorce if they were married to a high net worth individual.

The amount of money to be paid as spousal support is calculated by using a specific formula. According to the effective law, the courts are bound to follow it to calculate the amount of money in cases where the combined annual income of the partners is less than $250,000. In 2018, the cap was raised to $500,000. The formula applies by subtracting 20% of the receiving spouse’s income from 30% of the wealthier spouse’s gross income.

Nevertheless, the difference between the two must not amount to more than 40% of the paying spouse’s income. Lastly, it is noteworthy that a spouse will be eligible for spousal support if the partners had a marriage of 10 years or longer.

How spousal support is different in high net worth divorces

Couples with higher gross incomes are excluded from the formula by virtue of which the court usually calculates how much the less wealthy spouse will receive. The exclusion from the rule means that the spousal support payment is to be left at the sole discretion of a judge.

However, this creates uncertainty, as the judge can use their discretionary authority to award any amount. Consequently, to protect their finances, most high net worth couples will try to reach a convenient agreement by themselves, often guided by a spousal support lawyer.

Only with the assistance of a specialized attorney will you and your ex-spouse be able to reach a reasonable agreement, and you should also keep in mind that there are different types of spousal support, namely:

  • temporary alimony: this is support ordered when the spouses are separated before divorce
  • rehabilitative alimony: this is the support given to a lesser-earning spouse for a period of time needed to find work outside the home and become self-sufficient
  • permanent alimony: this is support paid to the spouse who earns less until the death of the payor, the demise of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient
  • reimbursement alimony: this is the support given as a reimbursement for expenses incurred by a spouse during the marriage

With the expert help of a lawyer specializing in this area of practice, you can make the right decision for you, as leaving the matter of spousal support in the hands of a judge if one of you is a high net worth individual might not be the wisest idea. Do not hesitate to contact a high net worth divorce lawyer to assist you with spousal support, as well as with other important aspects of your separation.

With over two decades of experience, Sean M. Cleary will provide you with superior legal assistance

If you are going through a high net worth divorce and have trouble deciding on the spousal support payment, we encourage you to contact the founder and owner of The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, who will offer you the assistance you need. The attorney specializes in this area of practice and will help you reach a convenient agreement concerning spousal support.

Sean M. Cleary will thoroughly analyze your case by considering every detail of it and subsequently come up with multiple solutions so you can have more than one option to choose from. He will ensure that you will be completely satisfied with the decision you make and is bound to go to great lengths to find the most suitable solution for your case.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.