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How is spousal support handled in Mississippi?

It goes without saying that getting a divorce affects a person not only emotionally, but also financially as well. Some spouses in Mississippi may be concerned about how they will support themselves after the divorce, particularly, if they were not working while married or if they earn significantly less than their ex. For this reason, sometimes, a court will order one party to pay alimony, also known as spousal support, to the other party.

In Mississippi, spousal support can be paid either as a lump sum or as periodic payments. A lump sum award of spousal support is a final and fixed dollar amount that is either paid to the receiving spouse as a one-time payment or a series of payments over a certain period of time. Lump sum spousal support orders cannot be modified later and are not affected by either the death of either spouse or whether either spouse remarries. Periodic payments of spousal support, on the other hand, can be modified down the road, and will end once either spouse passes away or if the receiving spouse remarries or cohabitates with someone.

In either case, when awarding spousal support in Mississippi, the court must specify how much to award. There are a number of factors the court will consider in such situations. For example, each party's health and ability to earn an income may be considered. The reasonable needs of the party that might receive support, as well as the necessary living expenses of the party that might pay support may be considered. The court may also consider other issues in relation to the couple's particular case.

In general, the court will aim to establish a spousal support award that allows the receiving party to enjoy a similar standard of living as he or she had while married. That being said, the amount of spousal support ordered has to be reasonable. In addition, the court understands that the party paying spousal support also has the right to keep up a decent standard of living.

As this shows, determining how much spousal support to award is not as cut-and-dried as it may seem, as every couple's marital and financial situation is different. Those who want to learn more about spousal support or other family law issues in Mississippi should seek the help they need to have their questions answered.

Source: MsBar.org, "How is the Amount of Alimony Determined?," accessed on Oct. 10, 2016

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