It's sad to think that some couples stay together for far too long due to economic considerations. Not only do the costs of divorce deter some, but the dread of financial uncertainty after all is said and done can make some miserable and in fear of the future. The solution may not be the first thing some consider, but perhaps it should be. Read on to find out why some divorcing parties need spousal support (or alimony).

Who Is Eligible for Spousal Support?

While spousal support is not ordered as often as it once was, it still exists in all states. Spousal support was created to help divorced spouses — often but not always the woman — cope with the disparity in married vs. divorced income. Many women still make the decision to stay home and care for children, particularly given the high costs of childcare. When that happens, it is still often the wife that suffers from a gap in the ability to earn income. It should be mentioned, of course, that both males and females can show a need for and be awarded spousal support. To show that need, take a look at a few common reasons spouses may need support:

  • As mentioned above, you have remained at home to be a caregiver and gave up educational or career opportunities to do so. Some parties may also be caring for a special needs child that will require care for their lifetime.
  • You helped your spouse by working while they attended college — often forgoing college yourself.
  • Your spouse earns quite a bit more than you do and is able to pay you enough so that your lifestyle may be maintained.
  • You are impaired, either physically or mentally, and are unable to earn income.
  • You are of advanced age and your work opportunities are diminished.

What Else To Know

If you fit into one or more of the above categories, talk to your divorce attorney about asking for spousal support. You can begin receiving support as early as your separation as long as you are not living in the same home with your spouse. If you can show a continued need, you can be awarded permanent spousal support. If you are able to obtain job training or education that leads to a job, you may be awarded rehabilitative support for a time. The amount you are awarded depends on the income of your spouse and, in some cases, the remainder of your divorce settlement. To find out more about spousal support, speak to a divorce lawyer as soon as possible.