The financial changes brought by a divorce are significant. The end of a marriage will require both parties to adjust to changes in their retirement savings, disposable income and their lifestyle expectations. This is not always easy to manage, especially for a spouse who does not work or earns significantly less than his or her partner.
This is why sometimes a court will grant spousal support. This is a type of financial support paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lesser-earning spouse to offset the economic inequity brought about by a divorce. These payments may be made for a “finite duration.” A specific term or number of years or for an “indefinite duration.” If you believe you have a rightful claim to these payments, you will want to take steps to understand exactly how it works.
What factors determine your eligibility?
You will not get spousal support just because you want it. These payments don’t depend on whether you think you deserve them, but they depend on your specific and unique financial circumstances. Sometimes, a couple is able to resolve issues related to spousal support through discussions and negotiation, but that is not always the case. There are times when a court will have to decide on this matter. When this is the case, it will consider the following:
- Financial condition of both spouses, including current income and projected future income. This includes income from retirements and pensions.
- How long the lesser-earning spouse would need in order to become financially self-sufficient.
- Whether the lesser-earning spouse will be physically and mentally able to find gainful employment.
- Length of the marriage and the nature of the lifestyle enjoyed by both parties over the course of the marriage.
- Ability of the higher-earning spouse to financially support the other spouse while still meeting his or her own financial needs.
- Decisions made during the marriage regarding employments, career, parenting, and other factors and their effect on present and future earning potential.
- Length of time one or both parties has been absent from the job market.
You have the right to pursue the support you believe you deserve and need. You may present your case to the court, or you may diligently pursue a reasonable outcome around the negotiating table. Either way, you will find it beneficial to have the support and guidance of an experienced attorney as you proceed.
Before you accept terms or attempt to negotiate a settlement on your own, you may want to seek a complete assessment of your case. Learning more about your legal options can help you make smart choices that will allow you to seek a final divorce order that provides you with security and stability long-term.