Spousal support is the money paid by one spouse to the other after they separate or divorce. The purpose of spousal support is to:
- help a spouse become financially stable
- prevent a spouse from experiencing serious financial difficulty due to the breakdown of the relationship
- provide a similar lifestyle for children of the marriage
- compensate one spouse for being financially disadvantaged during the relationship, for example, if one person stopped working to take care of children
When a court has ordered spousal support it is paid by the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income.
Do I qualify for spousal support?
You may be entitled to spousal support if you were either:
- lived together as a couple for at least three years
- were in a relationship of some permanence for any length of time and had a child together
You will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:
- You had responsibilities during the relationship that prevented you from building your own career, such as taking care of children or helping your spouse build their career.
- Your separation or divorce left you in need of financial support and the other spouse has enough income and assets to pay support.
- You have a legal agreement that says you will get spousal support if you separate.
The court may also consider factors, such as your age, health and childcare requirements.
How do I receive spousal support?
Spousal support is not a given or automatic payment after divorce, there are two ways for you to receive it.
The first is to negotiate for it as part of a separation agreement. This is done in the discussions prior to the final verdict of the separation agreement.
Since every situation is different, it’s hard to give a quick answer to questions related to divorce.
Taking the time to talk to a divorce lawyer at Epstein & Associates about your concerns is a great place to start.