Some people just naturally associate an issue like spousal support (or alimony) with history. It would be a big mistake, however, for a spouse to make that assumption and end up missing out on this vital and often much-needed form of financial support. Not all spouses need it, and not all of them end up getting it but read on so that you won't miss out on the opportunity.
Take Action Right Away
There might be no need to delay a divorce action due to fears of financial instability. Like child support, spousal can be requested, ordered, and paid before you even file for divorce. All that is necessary is that you show a need and have a spouse that is financially able to provide the funds. Spousal support during a separation comes in the form of a court order for temporary support and is meant to help bridge the gap between the separation and the final decree of the divorce. Since some divorces can take a long time to be settled, this form of support might be of great help to the spouse who earns less and needs help. In some cases, the temporary order is converted into a permanent order and becomes part of the final decree.
How to Prove a Need
If you and your spouse agree on a spousal support plan, you can just assume the judge won't question it. In many cases, however, the parties cannot agree on the need or the amount. There are numerous reasons to ask for this form of support, but you must demonstrate a need before the judge will order it. Some common reasons for asking for spousal support include:
1. You opted to take care of your children and worked very little, part-time or not at all during the marriage.
2. You supported your spouse while they attended to their education.
3. You are of a certain age and may have fewer work opportunities.
4. You have a mental illness, have a medical condition or a disability that keeps you from working or attending training.
5. You have very young children to care for or a special needs child.
6. You desire to improve your chances of career opportunities by seeking education or job training and need financial help to do so.
It Might Be Temporary
Unless you are older and/or unable to work at a job, the judge will usually order a form of support known as rehabilitative support. This type of support doesn't last a lifetime, but it should last long enough for the needing spouse to get on their feet financially.
If you think you need spousal support, don't put off speaking with your divorce law attorney.