The divorce process can represent a confusing time, and it's easy to focus on the emotional rather than the practical issues. This is no time to forget about protecting your financial future, however. Spousal support (also known as maintenance or alimony) is available for those who can show a need, so read on and make sure that you ask for the support that you deserve.
Seek spousal support as soon as possible
Many spouses mistakenly believe that spousal support is ordered and provided with the final decree, but you can actually seek it and have it ordered during your separation period. If your spouse agrees to provide you with payments, you can have the judge approve the order and you can then roll the order into the final decree. If your spouse does not agree, you should have your attorney request a hearing where you should be prepared to show your need.
Know why spousal support is granted
While the judge won't disagree with any plans for spousal support that you both agree upon, requesting it is another matter. You will have to show that you have a good reason for getting financial support before it's granted. It might help to know the reasons why spousal support is usually ordered, such as:
1. You stayed home to care for your children and gave up opportunities for education, job training or a career.
2. You are older and may have fewer opportunities to gain employment.
3. You are afflicted with a medical or mental disorder that makes it more difficult for you to seek or find employment.
4. You still have young children that need care.
5. You have a special needs child that needs care.
6. You wish to now pursue educational or job training but need financial support while doing so.
Understand who can get support
The old days of spousal support going only to the wife of the relationship have long passed, and sex is not considered when deciding this issue. If you are the husband and show a need, you can be awarded support.
Take action before your divorce is final
Don't confuse the issue of spousal support with child support; any issue that is connected with a minor child can be endlessly reopened and addressed. Not so with spousal support. If you are able to obtain even a small amount, it is far easier to have the amount raised than it is to add in the provision. Take action during your divorce or plan on doing without it.
Speak to local law firms to find out more about spousal support.