Today's divorcing couples may never even consider the issue of spousal support (alimony). It may seem insulting to the spouse that could benefit greatly from it, or it may be that the couple thinks that it is no longer even ordered anymore. But in fact, spousal support is far from dead; it is still needed and it is still ordered, so read on to understand more about this important form of financial help.
Why should anyone get spousal support?
Spousal support has been around for a while, although nowadays, the husband of the marriage is just as likely to be a recipient as the wife. That difference is actually the only thing about spousal support that has changed much since its inception. Originally, the wife of the family may have not worked outside the home and, therefore, was placed at an extreme financial disadvantage when the couple divorced. Spousal support still provides for the spouse that gave up career and educational opportunities to stay home and be a caregiver for the children.
Three forms of spousal support
1. Permanent spousal support: This infrequently awarded form of financial assistance is usually reserved for spouses in financial need that are older and/or in poor health. These categories of divorced spouses have less educational and career resources available and may be unable to work.
2. Temporary spousal support: Often confused with rehabilitative support, this form of support is meant to help bridge the gap between a separation and the final divorce decree. Divorces, depending on their complexity, can take months to be settled, and the spouse who needs financial help will need a temporary support order in the meantime.
3. Rehabilitative spousal support: This is the most commonly used form of support, and it always has an expiration date on it. Just as you might imagine from the name, the receiving spouse is awarded financial support meant to help with expenses while they attend school or get job training. The goal of rehabilitative spousal support is that the spouse gets enough help to boost them to a job, where they can become self-sufficient. It should be noted that while this form of spousal support is meant to last a certain amount of time, the end date is somewhat more flexible and the time may be extended if needed.
If you believe that you need the financial help that spousal support could bring, speak to your divorce attorney or family law attorney about adding this important provision to your separation agreement or divorce decree.