By Mike Stetzer
Spousal support is often a contentious issue in a divorce case. The issues surrounding alimony and temporary spousal support have become increasingly complicated over the past couple of decades, as the once-common family structure of working husband and homemaker wife has given way to a wide range of arrangements between spouses and the gap in earning potential has narrowed.
If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about spousal support or alimony, an attorney might be able to help you. A local divorce attorney can be a great resource for you to learn more about your rights and how to enforce them. To connect with an attorney near you, just fill out the short form below.
Spousal support is a somewhat complex area of law. Also, because each state is responsible for its own marriage and divorce laws, the rules of spousal support and tests used to determine eligibility and amounts may vary greatly from state to state.
In general, courts consider factors such as the earning capacity of each spouse, the length of the marriage, the age of both the spouses, assets to be distributed to each party, the living standard prior to the divorce, and in some states the reason for the divorce.
Only 10 to 15% of divorces result in spousal support or alimony.
This number may seem low to some people, but the norm has changed as family structure has evolved. Many couples have two-income marriages,with each party able to support himself or herself without need of assistance from the other party. Child support is separate from spousal support.
Of course, many divorce cases are settled by agreement. That means some spouses who might have been entitled to spousal support may have decided not to pursue it. Others may not have been aware of the option and have entered into an agreement without ever considering the possibility of support. And in still other cases, the party with the lower earning capacity receives a larger share of marital property in lieu of spousal support.
If you are going through a divorce and concerned about supporting yourself after, you can discuss your situation with a local divorce lawyer. If you need help determining your eligibility to receive alimony, simply fill out the form on this page to arrange your initial consultation today.