When does spousal support factor in?

Suppose your spouse was the main breadwinner in your family. In that case, you might believe you deserve to receive alimony, or spousal support, once your marriage ends. Although that may be true, your circumstances determine how any payments will factor into the terms of your divorce.

Rights and responsibilities

Historically, it was a man’s obligation to financially help his wife raise their children, regardless of whether they remained married. This was an obvious necessity when females lacked education and earning opportunities.

The concept of women needing support from a former spouse changed as women’s rights increased and more mothers entered the workforce. However, the income gap, your marital lifestyle choices or future job prospects may still provide space for alimony discussions.

Three considerations for spousal support

Salary typically factors in to a court’s financial decisions. The higher-earning spouse may need to provide a similar standard of living for their ex.

So, what does that look like for you and your former spouse? It depends.

Although alimony began with men’s responsibility in mind, gender is no longer a part of the equation. Financial obligations following marital dissolution now typically hinge on:

  • How long you were married
  • Your ages at the time of the divorce
  • Future earning capabilities
  • Health and other factors

Establishing favorable terms

There’s no longer a general expectation for a man to make regular contributions to his ex-wife. Instead, if you were the higher-earning spouse, you might be looking at making spousal maintenance payments.

Your situation will determine how much, if any, alimony is at stake. Individual circumstances will also govern how long payments from either of you will continue.