Asking for alimony, or spousal support, used to be different. Women, by and large, received alimony routinely, often without a need to prove anything. That is because alimony was often used to cover the party in the marriage that stayed home and cared for the children and home. Since that was almost always the women, they were awarded alimony. Even though it's still possible to be awarded alimony, the parties, be they women or men, must now show that they need it. To find out how that happens, read on.
Who Needs Alimony?
Two-income couples are common, but that doesn't mean everyone is equally prepared to deal with the single life, at least financially. Many factors come into play when considering who needs more financial help after a divorce. In many cases, alimony is of a temporary nature. Rehabilitative alimony might be ordered in some cases to allow a party time to adjust. For example, the receiving party might go back to college, take job-training classes, or just land a good-paying job. When any of the stated milestones occur, alimony ends. However, it should be mentioned that a spouse can voluntarily continue paying alimony if they so desire.
Reasons for Alimony
If the spouse is not agreeable to paying alimony without a reason, then the below issues might prompt the judge to order it:
- The requesting party gave up career opportunities to take care of the children or gave up educational opportunities to help a spouse get through college. For instance, one party might have worked rather than attend college and put the other spouse through medical school.
- The requesting party is older. Some divorcing parties in their fifties, sixties, or older are thought to have fewer job opportunities than younger spouses.
- The party needing alimony is unwell. When a divorce involves a party that has medical issues or mental health problems, alimony is more likely to be ordered. For example, one spouse might have a terminal disease and be unable to support themselves financially.
- Financial inequity can also prompt an order to pay alimony. For instance, if one party has always been a high earner, then both parties are accustomed to a certain lifestyle. The divorce produces a lower standard of living for one spouse unless the high-earning spouse is ordered to pay alimony.
To learn more about alimony and situations that may require it, speak to a divorce lawyer.