Alimony: Things You Probably Didn't Know
For some people, alimony is just one of those things that is considered a thing of the past. Fortunately, for those who need it, alimony (or spousal support) is far from being passé. If you are in the throes of a divorce, you may not consider this issue, but you should. There is no shame in expecting to be paid some financial support, even if only for a short period of time. Read on for some facts about alimony that you may not have considered.
1. The concept of alimony has been in existence for almost as long as marriage itself. No history lesson is needed to know that in times past wives were often financially dependent on their husbands. Alimony prevented those women and their children from suffering the inevitable financial impact of a divorce or separation.
2. While you might think that today's world holds no need for such forms of support, you may not be fully considering the situation. Whether it be the wife or the husband, lots of families today decide to have one spouse stay home and care for the children. There are many reasons for making this choice, including the cost of childcare compared to salaries earned, the need to spend more time caring for some children with special needs, and the option of homeschooling.
3. While alimony has traditionally played a major part in the issue of fault in a divorce, that may no longer be the case. Many states are now "no-fault," which means that the couple may declare their relationship irretrievably broken and plead irreconcilable differences as the grounds for parting ways. While, technically, fault should not affect alimony in most states, contested and contentious divorce cases may leave room for it to come into play in some states.
4. There are actually three different types of alimony:
- Temporary: this is awarded through an order before the divorce is final. Once you separate, you can request temporary alimony to be in effect throughout the separation period, which might actually go on for some time. Once the final decree is signed, temporary alimony comes to an end.
- Rehabilitative alimony: The final decree may order that alimony be awarded while the needing spouse attends school or other job training.
- Permanent: Not awarded as often, this type of alimony is aimed at spouses who may be older, ill, mentally or physically incapacitated, and in other situations. It may only end with the death of the receiving spouse and can continue after the death of the providing spouse if it's in the estate plan.
Speak to your divorce attorney to learn more about alimony.