WYOMING SPOUSAL SUPPORT LAWYERS
For some individuals going through a separation or divorce, spousal support can help ease the transition to independent life and self-sufficiency after a marriage breaks down.
If you are in this situation and the issue of support payments is a sticking point between you and your spouse, the spousal support lawyers at Wyoming Legal Group in Cheyenne can provide insight and experience to help you reach a fair resolution.
What is spousal support?
When a couple separates, one of the partners may experience financial hardship having been financially supported by their spouse during the marriage.
Sometimes, when there are children in the marriage, one of the partners makes career sacrifices to be the “homemaker”. Alternatively, both spouses work but there is a wide discrepancy in their monthly income.
There are many different financial scenarios but the State of Wyoming prefers for any major discrepancies in income to be evened out when a married couple separates – to avoid undue hardship for one spouse and support the transition to single life.
Spousal support or “alimony” is seen as a fair way to do this. Payments are made from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse at a predetermined frequency and for a specified period (or even indefinitely).
The Wyoming courts may award spousal support even before a divorce has been finalized to help a spouse navigate a period of separation.
You can request spousal support as soon as the divorce process has begun. You can even request support to help with the cost of the divorce regardless of who filed the papers.
Note that spousal support is calculated separately from child support and is often highly discretionary – according to the findings of the judge in the case.
Types of spousal support
There are three main types of spousal support in Wyoming:
1. Transitional support
Sometimes, support is necessary to help a spouse obtain an education or training to enter or re-enter the job market.
The judge can award transitionary support in such cases and this is usually for a limited time until the spouse becomes qualified.
2. Compensatory support
If one spouse has made a major financial or other contribution to the education, career, or earning ability of the other spouse, a judge has the power to award compensatory support.
This orders the spouse who received the career boost to compensate the other spouse financially for their sacrifices.
3. Spousal maintenance
The courts in Wyoming prefer to see separation arrangements where a couple enjoys a similar standard of living as they did as a married couple.
This can be difficult to achieve but spousal maintenance payments can help – and they may be ordered for a specific period or even permanently.
How spousal support is determined in Wyoming
If spousal support is requested when the divorce process begins, the judge may issue a temporary order until a final court order is secured.
Support must, however, be requested and will not happen automatically.
Wyoming is a no-fault state. This means that blame for the marriage breakdown is not considered during the divorce process – and it also applies when determining if spousal support should be awarded.
If one spouse cheated on the other, for instance, it cannot be used as grounds to grant or deny support.
When making a ruling on spousal support, the Wyoming courts may consider the following factors:
- The length of the marriage
- The total gross income of both spouses
- The earning ability of both spouses
- The existence of rental properties or other investments
- The general needs of the requesting spouse
- The ability of the paying spouse to meet obligations
Gender is not a factor when determining if spousal support is due: either spouse can apply for support.
The court will look for a fair and reasonable amount of support to be paid, based on the above factors. A judge has considerable discretion in such cases so it can help to have a seasoned spousal support lawyer fighting your corner.
A final note: while spousal support orders are expected to be followed, the amount or duration of support can be modified by applying to the court if circumstances change.
Need help with spousal support?
Spousal support is often a key sticking issue leading to disputes in divorce cases. Discussions can easily become heated when one’s financial security is discussed.
If you’re experiencing difficulties in reaching a support agreement with your ex-spouse, the divorce lawyers at Wyoming Legal Group can help. Start with a free case evaluation.