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Spousal support, also known as alimony, is often paid by one spouse to the other as the result of a divorce.

While spousal support is typically temporary, there are times when this may be granted on a permanent basis.

There are many factors that determine if spousal support is to be paid, as well as the amount. For example, the court will look at the length of the marriage. In most cases, spousal support is only considered if the couple was married for 10 years or longer.

Other factors include the standard of living during the marriage, if both individuals have a job, assets and how long it will take the non-wage earning individual to support him or herself.

While there is no set formula for calculating spousal support, here’s something you need to know: If you’re required to make this type of payment, it can quickly add up. Soon enough, you may realize that you are paying out as much as 50 percent of your income.

If children are involved in the divorce, the court typically considers child support to be top priority. For this reason, depending on the economic situation, spousal support may not come into play.

Due to the fact that spousal support can quickly add up, it’s always a good idea to understand your situation before you head to court. Furthermore, mediation is often the best way to work out this detail, as it gives you more control over the process, as opposed to simply relying on a family law judge to make a final determination.

Source: Mint, “The Financial Impact of Divorce,” accessed May 19, 2017