Four Things You Should Know About Alimony If You're Filing For A Divorce

If you're are thinking about filing for a divorce and your spouse makes significantly more money than you, it is possible that you may be able to get alimony. Sometimes called spousal support, this is simply a monthly check to assist you financially after your marriage dissolves. The following are a few things you need to know about alimony.

Alimony is not automatic

Whether or not your spouse will have to pay alimony will depend upon several factors, but one significant factor is how long you have been married. State laws will vary on the minimum number of years. But the important thing to remember is that regardless of how large a difference there is between your income and your spouse's income, you still may not be entitled to spousal support.

Your potential to earn money is a factor

Even if you make less than your spouse or nothing at all, a court will look at your potential to earn money. If you have chosen to be a homemaker during your marriage, you likely have no income at all. However, if you have special training or a college degree, it may be determined that you have a capacity to make a good income. It is possible that you may not receive any alimony.

There are limitations on the duration of spousal support

If you do get alimony, it will stop at some point in the future. Sometimes alimony is awarded for a specified number of years. It can also end if you marry again. Sometimes alimony is awarded to help you transition to a new life, but if you haven't put forth a good effort to find gainful employment, a judge can reduce or end your alimony.

Alimony must be paid

If you are awarded alimony, your ex-spouse must pay. It is a court order, and fundamentally the same as child support. If your spouse begins to skip payments, you can take your ex-spouse to court. It is possible to have the courts issue an order for wage garnishment. Back alimony must also be paid and cannot be discharged by a bankruptcy.

There are many possibilities for spousal support. If you and your spouse can agree on all of the details, it will become a part of your divorce. However, if you can't agree, a judge will decide for you. It is important to have a divorce lawyer to negotiate an alimony agreement. An attorney will know all of the state laws that apply to your specific situations.

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