Divorce can be a costly process for both parties and can have a greater impact on the party with less income and earning potential. Due to this discrepancy in resources between the parties, courts may award spousal support to one of the parties to make a more equitable financial arrangement between the parties.
Divorce is becoming a process that many families can no longer afford. Couples are not only experiencing issues with dividing assets, but also, with having enough assets due to high amounts of debt and a failure to properly manage their finances. In addition to property division issues, many women who chose not to work are astounded by the financial issues that they experience after a divorce. Even if they are highly educated, their possible lack of work experience prior to the divorce might make their skills obsolete. Sometimes, they might only be able to find low-paying jobs that prevent them from being able to properly save for retirement and leave them financially reliant on their former spouse. If these women qualify for a loan based on spousal support income, and their former spouse loses his or her job or gets a lower-paying job, these women will be negatively affected and may no longer be able to meet their financial obligations due to a decrease in the amount of alimony that they will receive.
Alimony is an allowance from the assets of one spouse to the other in cases of divorce, separation or abandonment to prevent the lower-earning spouse from being in an unfair financial position. Determining which spouse should receive alimony payments, if any, is based on the needs of the spouse and the ability of the other spouse to provide financial support. Alimony can be temporary and only paid until the receiving spouse can support themselves with more education to get a higher paying job, or it can be paid until the lower-earning remarries or the paying spouse dies. Courts award alimony based on many factors including the length of the marriage, the couple's standard of living, the age and health of the parties and the financial resources of the parties.
Spousal support can provide a regular income for lower-earning spouses to supplement them while they seek higher paying employment, improve their skills through education or for the rest of the paying spouse's life. Parties to a divorce should be aware of their right to receive alimony payments when certain circumstances exist.
Source: post-gazette.com, "The high cost of divorce," Tim Grant, Nov. 27, 2012