When couples divorce, the list of important issues to address can be long and can present the potential for a lot of confusion. There's the division of property and debt, as well as child custody and visitation if you are the parents of a child under the age of 18. One major facet of divorce might not occur to some couples, however and that is the issue of alimony, also known as spousal support. This valuable resource should not be overlooked, so read on to learn more.
Why alimony? This form of financial assistance came about long ago when wives traditionally stayed home to care for the children of the family. When the couple divorced, alimony was seen as way to help support that spouse who had no other financial resources available. While wives today may have more opportunities to earn money than in the past, there is still a need for this form of support. Not only wives, but husbands often give up educational and work opportunities to give full-time parenting a priority. The courts, rightly so, believe that a parent should not need to suffer financially because of this choice that can benefit the children of the marriage. Nowadays, alimony is awarded based on financial need and can go to either spouse.
Get support early. Many couples don't realize how much support is available before the marriage is even over. As soon as you are separated from your spouse, you may seek an order for support to span the time up until the divorce is final. Since some divorces can take some time to be resolved, this can mean more financial stability during the separation. As an aside, you can also take action to have child support ordered as soon as you are separated. To take care of several issues at once, a legal separation agreement could encompass nearly every issue addressed in a divorce decree, at least temporarily.
Get support in writing. Many couples agree to a casual form of support, with the more financially-secure spouse making promises to take care of the other spouse financially. If you settle for this type of promise, you may be making a huge mistake. Failure to have an alimony provision in your divorce decree could mean that you will miss your opportunity completely. If you have a provision with at least a token amount ordered, it will mean being able to revisit the issue and request more money later on.
Speak to a divorce attorney, such as from Hazlett & Pedemonte, for more information about alimony.