If you are getting divorced, chances are that financial stability will be one of your top concerns. After all, you will be splitting your assets and supporting two separate households, instead of just one. This means your finances are likely going to be tighter than they were when you were married.
As a result, it is common for one spouse to request spousal maintenance (fka “alimony”) from the other. However, before you make any assumptions or demands, you should understand what factors are typically considered when the courts are involved to either award or deny spousal maintenance.
These factors include:
- Earning potential of each spouse
- Property ownership of each spouse
- Standard of living during the marriage
- The amount of time it will take the financially disadvantaged person to become financially independent
- Balance of child custody
- Age of the person requesting support
- Marital contributions by each person, financial and otherwise
- Whether the support requested is temporary or permanent
Once the court examines each of these factors, it will make a decision about support. Generally speaking, if one party is going to be financially disadvantaged after the divorce and the other party has sufficient financial resources, maintenance may be awarded.
It is important to note that this decision doesn’t have to be left in the hands of the courts. Through mediation or collaboration, you and your soon-to-be ex can work out an arrangement for support on your own. You can also make decisions regarding spousal maintenance in a prenuptial agreement.
If you are concerned about requesting or paying spousal maintenance, if you don’t know what’s fair or what you may be entitled to, and/or if you don’t understand the significance of a waiver, you would be wise to discuss the matter with a family law attorney.