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Who gets spousal support/alimony?

You and your former spouse may have just gotten divorced. You think about it often. What went wrong in your marriage, that made it end in divorce? Now you may be wondering what happens after the divorce? Are you entitled to spousal support or alimony from your former spouse?

What is spousal support?

Spousal support, also known as alimony is awarded by the court to one of the former spouses, based on the court’s decision or an agreement between you and your former spouse. It is based on two things. Whether you have a financial need for the spousal support and whether your former spouse can afford to pay it. Laws are different in every state. So, the information you may need to give them will vary. Some of the information the courts will consider in awarding alimony include:

  • Your finances- you will need to show the court your income and living expenses (such as groceries and personal care).  It is also a good idea to give the court as much information as possible about your former spouse’s income and expenses.
  • Employment and education- the court may consider awarding spousal support if there is a disparity in education. For example, if your spouse has an advanced degree and you do not, that may mean your former spouse will be able to earn a larger income. Also, if you were a stay-at-home parent the court may award you spousal support.
  • Health and age- If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, the court may award support. Also, whether you are retirement age will be considered.
  • Length of the marriage- how long you were married is also considered when awarding you spousal support.

If you are awarded spousal support, it will continue until you can take care of yourself or possibly remarry. Being aware of whether you are eligible for spousal support can help you make decisions as to what is best for you after your divorce.

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