In divorces where one of the partners took on lower-paying, less rigorous work or completely opted out of the workforce to focus on the couple’s family and household while the other provided most of the household’s financial support during their marriage, the lesser-earning spouse may be entitled to receive spousal maintenance following their divorce. Spousal maintenance is also known as alimony. Spousal maintenance is money paid from the higher-earning spouse to his or her former partner to provide him or her with a financial safety net after the couple divorces.
There are many types of spousal maintenance available to couples. Each is designed to meet divorcing couples’ needs based upon their unique circumstances and financial health. For example, rehabilitative alimony provides the lesser-earning spouse with a financial cushion while he or she completes the job training or college courses necessary to find sufficient employment. Permanent maintenance is meant for couples where one partner has been out of the workforce too long to realistically obtain a position where he or she can provide for him or herself or otherwise cannot work.
Factors Used in Determining Spousal Maintenance
The amount of maintenance an individual is entitled to receive and the length of time for which he or she may receive it is dependent on a number of factors. These factors may be used by the court or by a mediator, depending on the type of divorce a couple pursues, to determine an appropriate spousal maintenance agreement. They are listed below.
- The length of the couple’s marriage
- Each partner’s current financial situation, including his or her assets
- Each partner’s current income
- Each partner’s age and health
- The length of time and monetary investment the lesser-earning partner will need to reenter the workforce
- The potential earnings that the lesser-earning partner sacrificed during the marriage to attend to the couple’s children and household
In some cases, certain factors play a more significant role than others in determining an appropriate spousal maintenance agreement. Talk to your divorce attorney about how your unique circumstances may make one or more of the aforementioned factors more prominent in your spousal maintenance determination than others.
Spousal maintenance is not tied to gender. Although traditionally, women were more likely to stay home and thus need spousal maintenance when divorcing, in today’s world, there are many women who are the main breadwinners of their households. As such, they are required to pay spousal maintenance to their former husbands upon divorcing.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
To learn more about spousal support, contact a divorce lawyer, to schedule your free legal consultation with our firm. During your consultation, a member of our team of skilled divorce attorneys will answer all of your questions about divorce and help you determine the best way to proceed with your case. Do not wait to contact our firm – start the divorce discussion with a member of our team today and arm yourself with information as you begin the divorce process.