When a couple divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay spousal support to the other spouse. Spousal support is generally intended to provide a source of income for spouse that earned low wages or no wages during the marriage. It also can help the receiving spouse maintain the standard of living he or she had during the marriage.
Types of support
In Mississippi, there are two types of spousal support, lump sum and periodic payments.
Lump sum spousal support is a fixed amount paid either in a single payment or over a period of time. It cannot be modified later and the death or remarriage of either spouse does not affect it.
Periodic payments can be modified and they stop if either spouse dies or if the receiving spouse remarries.
The court may consider several factors in determining whether to award spousal support. These include the spouses’ health, earning capacities, income sources, living expenses and estimated income tax.
It may also review the length of the marriage and the time it would take for the recipient spouse to attain education or training to pursue employment. The paying spouse also has a right to maintain a decent standard of living, but cannot purposefully change his or her financial situation to avoid paying spousal support.
If the paying spouse fails to pay, the court may hold that spouse in contempt of court, place a lien on that spouse’s property or garnish his or her income. It’s also important for the receiving spouse to keep records of the payments he or she receives.
Spousal support can be complex, but an experienced attorney can answer questions and provide representation for this issue and related family law matters.