Understanding Spousal Support

MoneyvLove.jpgIf you are considering a divorce, you may be entitled to, or you may be ordered to pay spousal support to your former spouse. What does that mean? Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is money paid to one spouse by the other in order to support the first spouse’s lifestyle after the divorce.It is completely separate from child support. Alimony is only ordered in about ten percent of divorce cases. Permanent alimony awards are largely a thing of the past; most courts will only award temporary spousal support, lasting from a few months to a few years.

While different states have different laws when it comes to alimony, it is usually awarded to a person who did not work outside the home during a marriage. Most states require the potential recipient to demonstrate financial need. Those with savings or assets sufficient to support themselves will generally not receive alimony. Prenuptial agreements may also spell out what spousal support will be awarded.

Federal law requires equal consideration for both men and women when awarding spousal support, but women have largely been the recipients of spousal support after a divorce, mainly because the majority of non-working spouses have traditionally been women. But there is nothing stopping a stay-at-home husband from collecting alimony in a divorce settlement.

Divorce is difficult, both emotionally and financially. Spousal support can make life a little easier for someone who has been out of the workforce for awhile. If you believe you are entitled to spousal support, or if you have been ordered to pay spousal support, you will need the help of an accomplished family law attorney. Please contact our firm for expert legal help.

Find out more about spousal support / alimony at What is Spousal Support?