Formerly known as alimony, spousal support is money paid by one spouse to the other for financial support. Spousal support can either be paid in a one-time lump sum or periodically (usually monthly) or a combination of lump sum and periodic. It may be paid on an interim basis, on a final basis, or both. It may be paid indefinitely and subject to future review or for a limited period of time, depending on the circumstances. These circumstances may include how long the parties cohabited, their ages, health, ability to work, and what their respective roles were during their cohabitation such as childcare, the maintenance of the home and earning income. Periodic spousal support payments are normally tax-deductible to the payor and must be claimed as income by the recipient on his/her taxes. This tax deductibility does not normally apply to lump-sum payments.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are guidelines that suggest an appropriate range of periodic Spousal Support. Unlike the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are not legally binding. They are essentially just a tool or guide which may or may not be used by lawyers and Judges in dealing with spousal support.