Couples may make an agreement about spousal support without going to court. An agreement would state the amount of the support agreed upon, and when the payments will be made.
A court may make an order for spousal support for periodic payments for a fixed period of time , or for an indefinite period of time), depending on the particular circumstances of each case. In general, the longer the marriage or domestic partnership lasted and the older the parties are, the more likely the court will be to make an indefinite order for spousal support. Most orders will provide that if the person receiving spousal or partner support remarries, the support will end.
The parties can agree and the court can order that the payor’s obligation to pay spousal support will continue after the payor’s death and that it be paid from the estate. If the payor has a life insurance policy then the parties can agree and the court can order that it be kept up to date and that the recipient be named as the beneficiary of the policy so that support can continue if the payor dies.
Spousal support can get complicated when a separating couple is in conflict. Even when there is no conflict, it is a good idea to get legal advice before you sign an agreement – especially an agreement that will impact your standard of living for years to come. The Resources section provides information about getting legal help.
Now that we examined child support and spousal support, it’s time to turn our attention to property.