Defending Against Unreasonable Support Demands / by Cassandra Hearn

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At the conclusion of a divorce, both parties must make financial adjustments to their way of living. In some cases, one of the spouses has a much lower earning capacity or has not worked at all during the parties’ marriage. These types of cases could be when a spouse makes a demand for spousal support. While spousal support can be an important tool to help an economically disadvantaged spouse, there are those who will make unreasonable support demands.

The first step to defending against an unreasonable support demand will be to identify that it is, in fact, an unreasonable demand. Unlike child support, there is no set “calculator” to determine how much spousal support will be awarded in any given case. Instead, the support will be determined based on a long list of factors, including such issues as the requesting spouse’s need, the paying spouse’s ability to pay, the length of the marriage, and whether the requesting spouse gave up career options in order to support the other spouse’s career. The first two factors can often be dispositive of whether the support request is unreasonable. The court will need to know what the requesting spouse actually needs. If the requesting spouse is asking for a lot more support than is necessary, this will be an unreasonable support demand. To defend against this type of unreasonableness, it may be important to demonstrate that the requesting spouse’s budget is inflated or that the requesting spouse’s income potential is higher than he or she is indicating to the court. A support demand may also be unreasonable if the paying spouse does not actually have the ability to pay the support requested. Spousal support is not intended to bankrupt the paying spouse simply to make the requesting spouse comfortable. A paying spouse can defend against such an unreasonable request by demonstrating that such a sum is impossible to pay on the paying spouse’s income. This type of demand may also be based in part on an incorrect income amount set for the paying spouse by the requesting spouse. In that instance, providing a detailed and accurate picture of the paying spouse’s income will be an important element of the defense.

We have extensive experience helping our clients defend against unreasonable requests from the other side. Call us today at 619-800-0384 for an appointment so we can talk about your case and what we can do to help.