Spousal support is a payment made by one person to a former spouse. The court orders this payment during the divorce proceedings.
Not every situation will result in spousal support because the court generally awards it based on need. For that reason, there are two types available that each address the needs of the person receiving the payments.
Temporary spousal support
Temporary support awards occur during the divorce proceedings. You will make or receive this money only during the divorce process. You request it upon filing. The idea behind a temporary order is to help you financially during the divorce. A temporary order can change later into the other type of spousal support award.
Long-term spousal support
Long-term support awards occur when finalizing the divorce. The court will tell one spouse to pay the other spouse a specific amount of money for a specific amount of time. The payments generally continue according to the order or until one spouse dies or the person receiving the money remarries. This permanent order is under the rule of the court. You cannot alter it or end it without court input. If a judge issues a temporary support order, he or she will likely change it into a long-term order when issuing the final divorce decree.
Spousal support orders are to ensure one spouse does not have financial hardship while the other is living comfortably. It adds some fairness to the divorce and is like an extension of the marriage agreement to take care of each other. Legally speaking, the court is making that promise last even after a divorce by awarding spousal support.