When Can You Make a Claim for Alimony?

By Wayne Thomas

The sharing of finances is fundamental to most marriages. When parties divorce, the court is tasked with ensuring that, if possible, each spouse continues the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. If you and your spouse have vastly different earning capacities, the court may order the higher earner to pay a support amount to the lower earner. This is known as alimony, and understanding when it may be requested can ensure that you remain financially solvent during and after your divorce.

The sharing of finances is fundamental to most marriages. When parties divorce, the court is tasked with ensuring that, if possible, each spouse continues the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. If you and your spouse have vastly different earning capacities, the court may order the higher earner to pay a support amount to the lower earner. This is known as alimony, and understanding when it may be requested can ensure that you remain financially solvent during and after your divorce.

Requesting Alimony

In most states, alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is requested in the original divorce paperwork. If you are filing for divorce, the complaint form typically has a box to check for alimony. Likewise, if you are the non-filing spouse, you may check this box in the response form, known as an answer. You may choose to request alimony while the divorce is pending, known as temporary alimony, as well as a final award after the divorce is granted.

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Factors Considered

Although state law may vary, judges typically are inclined to award alimony if you were married a long time, are unable to be self-supporting and your spouse has an ability to pay. Some states also take into consideration how much you received in the property division phase of the divorce, and whether your spouse committed marital misconduct such as adultery or abuse.

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Wife's Rights to the Husband's Lump Sums With a Divorce in Florida

References

Related articles

Colorado Divorce Maintenance & Overtime

In Colorado, courts do not follow a strict mathematical formula for permanent spousal maintenance, but instead follow fair and equitable guidelines. With the exception of temporary maintenance for lower income spouses, which does have a specific formula, the courts can consider any relevant factors in making their determination. As a result, while the state's statutes include only mandatory overtime in calculating income, courts may also look at voluntary overtime if the court finds it relevant.

Alimony Regulations in North Carolina

When spouses divorce, one spouse may leave the marriage financially weaker, without having the other spouse's income and assets at her disposal. North Carolina awards alimony to that spouse, in accordance with the state's legislative code. The law sets forth who is entitled to alimony, how the award amount is determined and when alimony is modifiable or when it will terminate.

Can a Divorced Wife Sue for More Alimony?

Usually, although not always, alimony -- spousal support as it it called in some states -- must be awarded in the initial divorce decree for the former wife to modify the amount after the divorce is final. State laws that very from state to state govern what type of alimony is awarded and how the amount is calculated. Since laws are similar in most state jurisdictions, a general discussion affords a basic understanding of the requirements for a post-divorce increase of the original alimony award.

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