Divorce requires a couple to divide property accumulated during a marriage but it also requires ensuring that each party is well-positioned in the near future. Providing financial assistance called alimony to a divorcing spouse is one way to do this. A spouse who engaged in child or domestic care instead of entering the workforce during the marriage may be able to get alimony in divorce. Petitioning for alimony can be a complicated process so it helps to have legal assistance.
A local family law attorney has experience separating non-marital property and dividing marital property in divorce based on state law. This includes dividing homes, cars, cash, and retirement savings and determining whether inheritance or other assets are subject to division. A family lawyer also assesses whether one party is entitled to temporary or permanent financial assistance from the other.
Several factors determine whether spousal support is warranted during divorce. These include whether one party requires the money in order to establish a comfortable lifestyle as a single individual. For example, a stay-at-home mom may need some money to live on until she is able to get a job. In some cases, additional education may be required to become marketable in the workforce and alimony might cover some or all of this cost.
If a divorcing individual is unable to become financially independent due to age or a physical or mental condition, alimony may be awarded indefinitely. Payments usually terminate if the individual remarries or dies but duration varies based on the court and situation. In most cases, the court will review the alimony arrangement at a predetermined time to assess whether payments should continue.
There is no universal rule or standard for alimony payments so it is impossible to determine whether an individual is entitled to alimony without investigating several factors. Income of each spouse and financial requirements of the petitioning party are among the determining factors. If the petitioning party will support children following the divorce, this will have an impact.
Alimony was created to ensure a fair divorce but with more spouses earning equivalent incomes, it has become less common in recent decades. However, it is still available, so divorcing spouses should assess whether it applies to them. A party who wants to get alimony in divorce should consult a family lawyer for assistance. A family law attorney can also help a party fight alimony in divorce to avoid paying an ex more money than is necessary.