Whether it is called alimony, spousal support, or maintenance, each state’s law does recognize the concept of one spouse making periodic payments to the other spouse during and/or following their divorce proceedings. Although alimony may be available to you in your divorce case, there have been significant changes to alimony in many states in recent years. As a result, you cannot be sure of your eligibility for alimony until you have discussed your situation with an experienced divorce lawyer. Since alimony can be a significant financial factor in your post-divorce life, you must address this issue sooner rather than later.
Determining Whether You Get Maintenance
In a divorce case, the first task is to determine if a maintenance order is appropriate for your case. The court can take several factors into consideration in making this decision. These factors include the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The standard of living that the couple had during their marriage
- Each spouse’s income, debts, and financial needs
- Whether one spouse stayed home while the other went to school or underwent training to become a professional and get a better job
- The ability of a spouse to become financially self-sufficient through education or job training
Determining How Much Maintenance You Should Get
There are a number of different factors that will determine how much alimony a spouse will have to pay, as well as the specific laws in the state you live in. Your divorce lawyer will be able to determine the approximate amount you may be entitled to.
The court will also decide whether the payments will be made periodically (usually on a monthly basis) or in one lump sum.
Determining How Long Your Maintenance Payments Will Last
The court will determine the duration of your maintenance payments based on how long you were married. The longer that you were married, the longer you potentially will receive maintenance. For instance, for a marriage lasting zero to five years, the court may multiply the years of marriage by .20, and so on and so forth. For a marriage lasting 20 years of marriage, a maintenance award will last one-half of the length of the marriage, or the award may be permanent.
Contact a Family Law Firm for Legal Assistance
While spousal support is one important decision in a divorce, there are also other significant issues that must be decided, including child custody, child support, and the division of assets and property. Unfortunately, even the friendliest of divorces can quickly turn acrimonious. This is why if you are considering ending your marriage, you want a skilled divorce lawyer advocating for you. Call an experienced attorney, like a divorce lawyer from a law firm like The Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A.