Many people divorcing now seldom consider asking for spousal support, perhaps believing that it is no longer part of divorce settlements. That is incorrect; spousal support, otherwise known as alimony, is alive and well, and failing to be informed about this potential source of financial support could be detrimental to you and your financial future. Make sure that you don't disregard this provision in your divorce agreement by reading below for 10 facts that you need to know about spousal support.
1. Spousal support was first initiated to help bring some equality to the spouse who had given up their career or educational opportunities to take care of minor children. Though not as common as it once was, many people do still choose to make this sacrifice for their children and this form of support still exists to help bridge earning disparity.
2. You can begin receiving spousal support while still married as long as you have a legal separation agreement in place specifying spousal support.
3. In most states, the awarding of spousal support has no connection to fault, but is instead based on the financial needs of one spouse. Although some states still allow at-fault divorces, spousal support may be viewed as a separate factor and not tied to fault.
4. The higher earner in the relationship will be the provider of spousal support, which can be either the man or the woman.
5. Spousal support becomes a legally binding court order when filed with the divorce decree, but can be difficult if not impossible to add later. Make sure you don't miss your chance to have this provision included.
6. Permanent support is uncommon, but temporary support can go on for several years. Depending on the circumstances, you may be awarded support that continues for your lifetime, with the support being provided for you in your ex-spouse's will.
7. Temporary support is sometimes known as rehabilitative support, which allows a spouse an opportunity to attend college or get job training.
8. Once an agreement has been filed with the court, it can always be amended to reflect changes in income or other circumstances.
9. You may be able to negotiate a lower spousal support payment that last longer, even with your remarriage, in lieu of a higher temporary amount. Your particular financial needs will dictate this issue, so discuss with your attorney the best option.
10. You will need to pay taxes on any spousal support you receive, so look at the big picture and consider substituting spousal support for more property.
A careful evaluation of your financial situation should be performed, along with an in-depth consultation with both your divorce attorney and a financial consultant. Make sure you don't miss out on this valuable financial benefit. Speak with a divorce attorney from a firm like Eschbacher Law for more information.