When a marriage ends, it can leave one spouse in dire financial circumstances. To ease the financial blow, the court may award spousal support, also referred to as alimony.
Not all divorces require a spousal support order. However, there are many circumstances in which it is appropriate.
You are a stay-at-home parent
In many families, it makes sense for one spouse to leave the workforce and become a full-time parent so that the other can build his or her career. If you have been a stay-at-home parent for a long time, you may have difficulty reentering the workforce after your divorce. If you gain full custody of your children, a full-time job may be impossible. Spousal support can help you meet your basic needs and care for your children.
You need support during your transition
As you adjust to life after divorce, you may have new expenses, such as a longer commute to work. If you need help with short-term expenses during your transition, you may be able to receive bridge-the-gap alimony. This type of support has a two-year limit and ends if you remarry.
You need time to complete an educational or career program
If you are taking courses to earn a degree or a professional credential, the court may award you rehabilitative alimony while you work toward financial independence.
To receive rehabilitative alimony, you must have a specific professional goal and a plan in place to achieve it, such as completing a certification program or earning a degree. If you drop out of the educational or training program, the court can terminate the arrangement.
If you are going through a divorce and you are concerned about your financial situation, you may be eligible to receive alimony to help with your transition.