What Women Need To Know About Spousal Support

by: Russ Thornton

Divorce can be very difficult. It’s emotional and depressing and can sometimes turn once loving couples bitter and acrimonious. There are assets to divide, child custody and support to be agreed on and, sometimes, spousal support will become part of the terms of divorce.

Spousal support, also widely known and referred to as alimony, is traditionally an amount of money that a person pays to support his or her former spouse. This is not a new concept – the earliest records of alimony laws appeared in Babylonian texts written about 1772 BC. These spousal support payments were legally created as a means of livelihood for former wives as women were not usually allowed in the workplace. Though alimony used to be perceived as payments made to housewives, this stigma has largely been forgotten over time.

If you are a woman considering suing for spousal support, then there are some things that you should know.

There are a few different types of support you may be entitled to. Temporary support is awarded for the period of time between separation and/or filing for divorce until the proceedings are finalized. You may also receive alimony until you find gainful employment if you are not currently working. You can also be reimbursed for money you have spent to help your spouse, such as business expenses or education. Permanent alimony, which is paid for a specified length of time, is the most common form of spousal support.

There are factors that will affect the types and amounts of spousal support you may be eligible to receive.

Locality

What and how much you are entitled to in the way of alimony may be determined by the area in which you live. Some states have strict wording in their laws and some are considerably more relaxed as far as the terms are concerned.

Marriage Length

In some states in the US, a couple must have been legally married for a period of not less than ten years before alimony becomes available as a term included in the divorce.

Age

Your age at the time of your divorce can also affect the amount of spousal support you will receive – ultimately, the older you are the more you are likely to be paid.

Divorce Terms

Your alimony may be determined by the wording of your request to obtain a divorce. Some states will not allow alimony based on certain reasons, such as irreconcilable differences. A no-fault divorce may hinder your chances of receiving support.

Prenuptial Agreements

These days, many people draw up and sign prenuptial agreements, otherwise known as a “prenup.” This legally binding document will spell out the terms under which alimony will be paid, such as if the divorce is due to infidelity on the part of your spouse. Should your spouse’s finances increase substantially during your marriage, you may be able to challenge the prenup.

Gender Equality

Though alimony was originally adopted as a way to help divorced women support themselves, these days it’s fairly frequent for men to sue for support. If you are the primary earner in your marriage, this could easily be possible for you.

Length of Support

How long you can receive alimony depends on several factors. In some US states, spousal support cannot be paid for a period longer than the couple was legally married. This may also fall back to the legal date of separation. You most definitely will lose your alimony payments should you remarry.

As always, work closely with your attorney and make sure you divulge all possible information. This will help you immensely as your divorce proceeds. If you have any questions about the process, your attorney will walk you through those questions and give you a clearer picture about what you’ll be facing as you continue the divorce process.

Final Thoughts

It’s important that you find the best attorney to work with you through the divorce. There are dozens of attorneys that you can choose from, regardless of where you live. There is no “perfect attorney,” but it’s vital that you find one that you’re comfortable with and that is going to work hard in your favor to ensure the best outcome for you and your family.

No two divorce situations are going to be identical. Each circumstance is going to be different, but regardless, it’s important that you have all of the resources and tools that you need.

Not only can divorces be emotionally draining, but they can also be financially straining as well if you don’t get the support that you need from your spouse. As you can see from this post, there are dozens of different factors that you will need to consider, but hopefully, this article has given you some insight to ensure that you get the financial support that you need.

I hear a lot of stories about women that wanted to get through the process as quickly as possible, and they sacrificed a lot of support to do that. In some cases, they filed for a no fault divorce, which means that they got little to no support. This is one of the worst mistakes that you can do. Don’t make any decisions based on emotions. Spend some time weighing all of your options before you decide which one is going to work best for you.