9 Things to Know Before Seeking Spousal Alimony

9 Things to Know Before Seeking Spousal Alimony

June 30, 2023

By FairWell Family Law Mediation

Are you wondering if you should receive alimony after a divorce? Click here for nine things you should know before seeking spousal alimony.

Marriages are not always made to last. Between 40 – 50% of marriages in the United States end up being terminated and ending in divorce. This is a hard decision for all parties to come to.

Yet, when it comes to terminating the marriage, plenty of areas need to be considered. One of those areas is spousal alimony. Are there funds that need to be allocated for spousal support?

If you’re beginning to look into your divorce options, one of the areas you and your partner need to discuss is an alimony agreement. Here are a few things to consider regarding what you may be entitled to. Figure out what the best terms for the dissolution of your marriage are.

1. How Is Support Calculated?

One of the most important things to know about spousal support is how that support is calculated. An alimony agreement is dependent on what the income looked like during the marriage. The supporting spouse must continue to pay either every month or in a lump sum.

Much of this is reflected in long marriages where one spouse has been the prime benefactor of the family. The amount is tabulated around the bills that remain and the financial ability and need that will occur after the separation.

2. The Receiving Spouse Must Be Justified

The spouse who will be receiving the payments must show financial need. There must be a reason in place for why both parties agree. There are a multitude of reasons why this can be justified.

Several factors must be in place. The paying spouse must agree to the alimony and there must be a legal show of the financial income being enough for both parties to survive and agree to.

3. Either Spouse Can Receive Support

Spousal support will not automatically only be considered if it is going to the matriarch of the family. Either spouse can qualify for spousal support pending what the family income has looked like. The lesser-earning individual who has been dependent on the main breadwinner will be the one to receive the payments.

This can be financially calculated by mediators if you aren’t sure where the income comes from for both parties.

4. One Spouse Has Left

When receiving alimony, one spouse has left the marital home. With divorce comes the division of assets. One of these assets typically includes one party staying in the marital home. It is easier on both parties when it comes to determining alimony if one party has already moved out of the home.

This way it can be determined what the other spouse still needs to get by and how much it is going to support the other spouse and a sole household.

5. Is Not Only Direct Payments

The established alimony agreement does not have to be only in cash payments. It can also come in the form of bills that need to be paid or other expenses. Real estate and even health care payments could be taken into this agreement as well.

These facts can be worked out between the parties and written into the divorce documentation. The agreement has to be reasonable and agreed to by both parties.

6. Doesn’t End When Divorce Is Finalized

A common misconception when it comes to the divorce and alimony process is that when the divorce is official the alimony ends. This is never the case. The alimony ends with the agreed terms.

This could be months or even years post the divorce agreement. There are certain terms that could potentially stop alimony payments from needing to be completed.

7. Certain Grounds Can Dispute Alimony Claims

Certain terms for divorce can expunge any alimony claims that are made. These types of claims are ones such as adultery or conviction of a crime. Domestic violence is also a disputable charge that could terminate any alimony agreement that may be considered.

In these cases, it wouldn’t matter if the spouse who earns more is the one who is asked to pay originally. The behavior of the other partner would be taken into consideration when it comes to appointing payments.

8. Moving on From the Relationship

Another ground for alimony being terminated could be when the party receiving the alimony moves forward with their life. Things such as new engagements in relationships could expunge the payments.

If you intend on continuing to receive alimony payments, be sure you know what the guidelines are when negotiating your separation and divorce. Be aware of the grounds that would make the payments from your partner come to an end.

9. Alimony Laws Depend on the State

Familiarize yourself with the guidelines of your state when it comes to receiving alimony. These guidelines may depend on the state you live in or the state where the marriage ended. Many states have different requirements when it comes to what qualifies.

You may want to look into the rules in your state prior to pursuing alimony. A mediator will be able to help guide you through the process and explain any criteria you may not understand.

Are You Entitled to Spousal Alimony?

When going through your divorce negotiations, consider all aspects of what you or your partner are entitled to. Your attorneys will help you to decipher the spousal alimony that needs to be figured out. While your marriage might be over, there are still aspects that need to be discussed.

When you’re ready to take that next step and come to a fair negotiation, we’re here to help. Contact us to come to a divorce settlement that best suits you and your partner.


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