Spousal support is something you can request in a divorce case if your state allows it, and most states do. In the past, the law called this alimony, but most states now call it spousal support. If you are going through a divorce, you may want to talk to your lawyer about spousal support. Your lawyer can help you understand what it is and if you qualify for it. Here are several vital things you should understand about it as you begin working on your divorce.
The Purposes of Spousal Support
Spousal support is not something that all divorces provide, but it is used in many cases. Spousal support serves several purposes that you should understand before pursuing it. The first purpose is to provide the lower-income spouse with money to help him or her obtain the ability to earn money. Suppose you were a stay-at-home parent during the marriage and do not have a college degree or any special skills. When you divorce, you may have trouble supporting yourself. With spousal support, you could have income coming in while you go back to school to gain skills to make more money.
The second purpose of spousal support is to provide the lower-income spouse with the ability to continue living the same lifestyle while he or she works on finding a way to support him or herself.
The Requirements for Eligibility
Every state uses different criteria to determine if a spouse is eligible for collecting spousal support. If a spouse is incapacitated, this is often a factor that makes the person eligible. If the spouse was not working during the marriage, he or she might also be eligible. Courts factor in the length of the marriage, too, as well as several other considerations.
If you qualify, the next step is to determine the amount your spouse should pay you. Courts also use several techniques to calculate the amount of the support payments, and your divorce lawyer can explain how this works.
The Length of Spousal Support Payments
The next thing to understand is the length of the payments. How long will they continue? The answer depends on many factors, and the first factor is the reason for the support. The second factor is the length of the marriage. Your payments may last for several years, or they may continue until you die. The court order will state the duration of the payments.
How It Ends
Your spouse can legally stop making the payments to you after completing the duration listed in the agreement. If the contract does not state how long they last, or if your spouse wants to end them sooner, he or she can petition the court to stop the support payments. Your ex-spouse cannot stop making them, though, until the court orders it. For this to happen, your ex must ask for a modification to the court order and must have evidence to back up this request.
How to Proceed from This Point
If you believe that you qualify for spousal support and want to pursue it, talk to your divorce lawyer. Your lawyer can review all the facts in the case and tell you if you should pursue it or not. If your lawyer believes you qualify, he or she will begin working on the request for spousal support payments from your spouse.
Talking about your situation to a divorce is the best way to find out more about spousal support and other divorce-related issues. If you need to hire a lawyer for your case, contact a divorce law firm like Katzman Logan Halper & Bennett today to set up a consultation appointment with a divorce attorney.