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Can I Seek Alimony Or Spousal Support
Alimony, or spousal support, is often a sensitive topic during divorce proceedings. Most parents understand the idea of child support, but support for one's spouse with whom the divorce represents a significant split feels like another thing altogether.
Spousal support is often sought by the party in the divorce with the most to gain from it - the spouse with less money and fewer financial prospects. The spouse may feel entitled to a similar lifestyle after the marriage, or if the spouse stayed home to take care of the children in the partnership, he or she may need to receive job training.
If you wonder if you will likely receive alimony or spousal support, there are four main factors that determine your eligibility. You should talk with your divorce lawyer to see if seeking alimony is the right choice for you.
Factors Determining Eligibility For Spousal Support
Not everyone will be awarded alimony by a judge in a divorce court. Read on to see if you are a likely candidate.
- Length of Marriage - Many states require a couple to have spent a minimum number of years together for either spouse to qualify for alimony. For instance, Texas couples require at least five years of marriage before either may ask for spousal support.
- Income Disparity - Judges will be more likely to rule an alimony payment if there is a significant income disparity between the spouses. The reasoning behind this is that the dissolution of a marriage is a stressful event, and it takes a spouse with less money time to get back on his or her feet following the break-up.
- Small Children - If the divorce occurred when children were at a young age, one parent may have been the one to stay at home and take care of the children. This parent is less employable than the breadwinning parent, so alimony may be awarded to give the non-working parent time to go back to school and re-enter the workforce.
- Overall Financial Situation - If the potentially-paying spouse is financially unable to pay alimony, the judge will take that into account. Every divorce is different, and every alimony agreement is different too.
Finally, keep in mind that alimony is generally only a temporary payment, designed to give the poorer spouse enough time to become independent. Consult with your divorce attorney if you wish to seek alimony or spousal support.