Getting spousal maintenance or alimony can be a little tougher than getting child support, because unlike with child support, there is no formula for calculating the amount of support for an ex-spouse. Also known as spousal support or maintenance, alimony is mostly dependent on the judge, so it can be fairly subjective. The best way to get alimony is to negotiate for it, rather than sending the case to court for a judge to decide.
That being said, spousal support isn’t uncommon. Especially if you meet one or more of the following conditions, you may be entitled to some level of support in order to help you get back on your feet following the divorce.
- You’re unable to provide for your needs. If getting a divorce will cause you to be unable to support yourself, because you are unemployed, underemployed, or lack sufficient property to support yourself, you may be able to get spousal maintenance to help support you until you are able to support yourself. Typically, the duration of support is about a third to a half of the duration of the marriage, which means that the longer you were married, the longer your alimony will last.
- You invested financially in improving your spouse’s earning ability. If you worked to support the family while your spouse went to college, for instance, your years of working hard to enable your spouse to earn more someday shouldn’t be overlooked. You invested both money and hard work into your spouse, and as a result, you may be entitled to some spousal support now.
- You gave up multiple years of your own career and earning ability to benefit your spouse’s earning ability. Some jobs don’t really allow a person to juggle both work and parenting, so the other spouse will stay home, either part-time or full-time, so that they can be the parent on-call for when the kids need something. If you stayed home and sacrificed your own career so that your spouse could perform better in theirs, you may be able to make a case for spousal support. Even though you never contributed financially to improve your spouse’s earning power, you contributed hours of work and sacrificed your own earning power by putting your family first.
- You care for a disabled child that prohibits you from working and achieving financial independence. If you are the primary caregiver for a disabled child you had with your spouse, you may be unable to pursue a career outside the home, and therefore could not support yourself financially in time. In this case, your support would likely be ongoing, and would be considered separate from any child support order to cover the child’s needs.
- You were married and out of work for a long time, and/or are old enough that it’ll be difficult to find work that will lead to financial independence. If you were a homemaker for many years during a long marriage, it’ll most likely be difficult to jump start your career now, especially if you’re old enough to retire or be near retirement. In cases like these, alimony is not used as a bridge to help a spouse become financially independent again. Since that’s not likely to happen for you, you’re more likely to be awarded alimony on an ongoing basis.
Divorce is challenging enough when you’re financially stable, but when you could realistically end up homeless and penniless, it can be absolutely terrifying. To find out whether you would qualify for spousal support, or to start proceedings for “pendente lite” to support you while the divorce is pending, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.