Alimony, contrary to popular belief, is not a guarantee. Not every spouse is automatically entitled to alimony, occasionally referred to as "spousal support" or "maintenance." In fact, the court will consider a variety of factors that touch on your health, education, work history and current job status to evaluate whether or not you require spousal support.
Alimony is designed to ensure that a divorce will not too drastically affect the lifestyle to which you are accustomed. However, it is also not intended to guarantee to you a cushy life. This article will briefly examine the various factors that courts consider in assigning alimony and determining the amount of the alimony.
The biggest thing the court looks to is your current job status. Are you working? What kind of job? For how long have you worked there? If you are currently employed, the court will try to tease out if you are able to maintain your lifestyle on your own. Basically, this means that two spouses with roughly the same economic strength cannot typically get alimony from one another. But, it also means that a stay-at-home dad or mom is probably eligible for significantly more support.
The court will also consider your education and work history. Did you have a promising career? Why did you leave the workforce? Are you able to break back into that industry? If you have extensive work history in a technical or professional field and left the job market temporarily, you may not be entitled to very much support. The court wants to encourage people to get back into the workforce and alimony is intended only as a bridge toward that eventuality.
The court will also examine your health. Do you have an injury that prevents you from working? Did this health problem arise during the marriage? As much as the court would like people to work, it won't force people with health problems to find a job or risk poverty.
If you are considering divorce and fear for your financial security, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Never, ever take something for granted. You should always take the necessary steps to educate yourself and prepare because you can never know how your ex-spouse may approach the case or how the court will rule on your matter.