Divorce is a financially complex process for both parties, especially if there is significant financial inequity between them. In many cases, the lesser earning spouse will have a rightful claim to financial support from the other spouse. Florida readers know this is spousal support, also called alimony or spousal maintenance.
If you believe you may have a rightful claim to this type of financial support or you want to avoid making expensive payments to your ex-spouse after divorce, it can be beneficial for you to understand how it works. The determination of these payments depends on several factors. As with all financial matters related to divorce, you would be wise to approach this matter with a goal of having a strong and stable post-divorce future.
The determination of spousal maintenance
Not every spouse who makes less money than the other will be eligible for spousal support after divorce. While some couples are able to negotiate and reach a reasonable conclusion to this specific issue, others may require a family law judge to determine the amount and duration of these payments. In these deliberations, the following factors are important:
- The number of years the marriage lasted
- Whether or not one spouse gave up a career to raise children
- The physical limitations and earning capacities of both spouses
- The employability of the lesser earning spouse
- Current income levels, debts and other financial factors
- The ability of the higher earning spouse to make payments and still support himself or herself
The intent of spousal support is to lessen the severe economic hardship brought by the end of marriage, specifically for the spouse that earned less or did not work at all. Alimony may be permanent, but in many cases, it is only for a limited amount of time. This will provide the recipient the time necessary to get education, adjust to new financial circumstances, get a job or find higher paying employment.
Protect your financial interests
One way you can protect your financial interests is to seek a complete evaluation of your case at the beginning of the divorce process. This will help you fully understand your potential obligations or financial payments, as well as how you can protect your rights.
Spousal support is a complex issue in many divorces, but with guidance, you can secure a final financial order that is reasonable, fair and provides you with opportunity to have a bright future.