When most couples get married, divorce is the farthest thing from their minds. In fact, couples often build their entire lives around the belief that they will be married to their spouse until they die. However, a significant percentage of couples do not make it that far and seek divorce. This leaves individuals to deal with the decisions they made under very different circumstances.
Putting one’s career on hold to raise children, care for the home, or pursue passion projects is a choice that many people make when they get married. Unfortunately, it can leave one in a state of financial insecurity during divorce. Large gaps or lapses in a resume can easily disqualify a job candidate. Similarly, taking time out of certain fields may result in outdated understanding and job ineligibility.
If you remained at home during your marriage, you should understand your right to spousal support. This income from your ex-spouse can significantly relieve financial stress. It can also compensate you for the sacrifices that you made in your career during your marriage.
The Basics of Spousal Support
Spousal support, or alimony, is a series of payments that one ex-spouse makes to another ex-spouse. These payments are meant to help the receiving spouse become accustomed to living without the financial support of a partner while they find a job. These payments allow them to retain their lifestyle and avoid financial insecurity.
In some cases, spouses are entitled to spousal support because they stayed home to care for the home and children while the other spouse worked outside of the home. In other cases, spousal support helps to even out the incomes of each divorced spouse. This commonly occurs if one spouse made vastly more during the marriage than the other.
For example, if Spouse A makes $250,000 per year and Spouse B makes $50,000, Spouse B may be entitled to spousal support. That way, they can maintain the lifestyle that they have come to expect. After all, spouses make career and job decisions based on the understanding that they will share incomes forever. A lower-earning spouse should not be punished when things do not work out as planned.
Am I Eligible for Spousal Support?
Your eligibility for spousal support will depend on several factors, including:
- Your income
- Your spouse’s income
- The length of your marriage
- Your relationship status
Generally, couples can expect to discuss a spousal support agreement if they have been married for 10 years or longer. However, there is no length of time that spouses are required to be married before they are eligible for spousal support. In certain circumstances, marriages that only last a few years may still enable a spouse to receive spousal support.
If you have remarried, or live with a partner, you may lose your right to spousal support. This is because the state assumes that your new partner shares some of the financial responsibility. Therefore, you are not without support any longer. It is important to understand this if you receive or seek spousal support during your divorce. This may inform your dating choices.
Prenuptial Agreements and Spousal Support
Many couples believe that spousal support is not possible if they have a prenuptial agreement. This is untrue. Prenuptial agreements make certain assets ineligible for asset division. However, they cannot disqualify someone from receiving spousal support.
The asset division process splits marital assets between two divorcing spouses. In many cases, assets that you or your spouse owned individually become marital property when you get married. A prenuptial agreement excludes certain premarital personal property from becoming marital property. This allows the original owner to retain it in the event of a divorce.
Q: How Long Does Spousal Support Last?
A: The length of time that you can receive spousal support payments depends on your situation and the length of your marriage. The general rule is that if you have been married for less than 10 years, spousal support will last approximately one-half the length of your marriage. For example, a marriage that lasted 6 years may result in 3 years of spousal support after divorce. For longer marriages, payments may be indefinite. However, this assumes that you are eligible for it.
Q: How Do I Get Spousal Support?
A: The most effective way to make your case for spousal support is with the help of an attorney. We can amass evidence that you deserve spousal support and make your case to the judge. This is difficult to do without a legal representative. Unfortunately, there is no other way to earn spousal support. It is unlikely that a spouse will offer to pay it. They may even try to avoid the topic if they do not wish to pay.
Q: Do All Divorces Require Spousal Support?
A: No. Many marriages are not eligible for spousal support. If you and your ex-spouse make similar amounts of money, or if the receiving spouse waives their right to compensation, there may not be a spousal support agreement during a divorce. These agreements are reserved for divorces in which:
- One spouse made much more than the other spouse.
- One spouse remained home to care for the children and sacrificed their career.
Q: How Much Does a Spousal Support Attorney Cost?
A: All attorneys charge differently for their services. As such, it is important that you speak to each potential attorney about their fees and charges. This can help ensure that you can afford a spousal support attorney for the duration of your case.
If you are seeking spousal support during divorce proceedings, find a family attorney who can help you with all relevant legal matters that may arise during a divorce.
Contact Stange Law Firm in Kansas City, KS
Our team is passionate about providing reliable, supportive legal services to families in their times of need. We have seen clients and families of all kinds. We are well-trained to represent you and your loved ones in your family law cases.
For legal counsel in a spousal support claim, contact Stange Law Firm today.