Getting divorced can be a frustrating and confusing process. You would like to move on with your life afterward, but that can be hard to do if you must pay spousal support. In some cases, there is no need for spousal support, but the courts order it anyway.
For instance, say that an ex-wife has a master’s degree in teaching and worked as a teacher up until the time the couple had children and she stayed at home. She has maintained her licensure, and there is plenty of demand in the area for teaching jobs. In theory, she could start working soon and make about the same amount of money as her ex-husband. However, his lawyer failed to explain this in court, and so the judge awarded her spousal support.
In other situations, though, the need for spousal support is genuine, although paying it can certainly still be frustrating. A judge does not always have to order the amount. You and your ex-wife can work out the amount yourselves.
Education, employment, health and age
Major factors in why you pay spousal support are your education, employment, health and age–as well as those of your ex-wife. If she is 55 and has not worked for 20 years, then it will probably be difficult for her to start earning income immediately that gets her into a comparable standard of living to what she had during your marriage.
Length of marriage
Another major factor is how long the marriage lasted. Take the above example of the ex-wife who is 55 and has not worked in 20 years. If the two of you were married only three years, you may be paying for only a short amount of time or not at all compared with if the two of you remained married for decades.
A stopgap measure until your ex can support herself
If your ex-wife is fairly young, say, 30 and in good health, the courts would generally expect her to get the education needed to be able to support herself as soon as possible. If she does not seem committed to getting that education, then you could make the case for stopping your spousal support payments.