Alimony: What You Need To Know

Couples going through a divorce might not automatically consider the issue of alimony (or spousal support). If a divorcing party needs it, though, it can make a huge difference in not only the desire for divorce but the financial situation. For what you need to know about alimony, read below. 

  1. While alimony may seem like a thing of the past, it still exists in every state and can be useful for parties of either gender. Many couples decide that one spouse should remain home and care for the children, thereby forgoing their own educations and careers. In addition, the cost of childcare can make it unfeasible to work outside the home. With a divorce, the party without job experience or training can be left in a very sad financial state.
  2. When divorce looms ahead, parties that depend on the other spouse for their financial support may be extremely reluctant to leave a bad marriage. This can not only negativity affect both parties but the children of the marriage can suffer too. Alimony, which can be ordered as early as the separation, takes finances out of the equation and allows the parties to make decisions based on other important factors.
  3. If you are no longer living together, you might qualify for alimony. In most states, you can either create a legal separation agreement with a provision stipulating temporary alimony or you can ask your divorce lawyer to create an order for the judge to sign. When you and your spouse agree to the final decree, the alimony provision will be included if approved by the judge.
  4. Final alimony provisions are of two varieties: permanent and rehabilitative. Permanent alimony is usually aimed at spouses who are ill, older, and unable to work to support themselves. Only remarriage by the receiving spouse terminates permanent alimony. In some cases, spouses may be ordered to address their former spouses in a will or trust as well. With rehabilitative alimony, the object is for the recipient to reach a certain goal. That might be a college degree or full-time employment.
  5. It's better to bring up the alimony issue sooner rather than later. If you fail to have an alimony provision included in the divorce, it's extremely difficult to reopen the decree later on. Taking action early shows an urgency at placing it at a high priority among other divorce issues.

If you show a need, you may get the financial help you need. Speak to your divorce lawyer about alimony today.