Gone are the days when all a spouse had to do to get spousal support (or alimony) was to ask for it in the divorce. Nowadays, it's just as likely to be the man asking for support as it is the woman, and it's often not ordered at all. Read on and find out what has changed – and perhaps, more importantly, what has not changed with spousal support.

Why Do You Need Spousal Support?

With more and more couples finding it necessary to both work, you might think that spousal support is no longer provided when a couple divorces. That, however, is far from accurate. Some marital situations call for one spouse to be responsible for paying support to a needing spouse. Those who need spousal support may have to show why they need it. Take a look at a few situations that would have a judge ordering spousal support for today's divorces:

  1. Inequality of Income: When one spouse makes an income far greater than the other, they may be ordered to equalize things using spousal support. Judges may be trying to lessen the financial impact of splitting up on one party who has become accustomed to a certain level of income.
  2. Lack of Education and/or Job Experience: Some couples find that the cost of childcare makes it impossible for both parties to work. When one spouse stays home and cares for the children of the marriage, they are often doing so for economic reasons. Some spouses cut their educations short, let their careers stall, and go years without working. All of those things can make it difficult to work again and bring in enough income to live on.
  3. Health and Age: Older spouses and those in poor health are less likely to be able to earn a living and are more likely to be awarded permanent spousal support.

Types of Spousal Support

In most cases, permanent spousal support is rare. Rather, rehabilitative spousal support may be ordered so that the needing spouse can return to school, gain job training, find a job, and attain other milestones. Rehabilitative spousal support lasts as long as it's needed but may end upon the recipient attaining some level of financial independence.

Temporary spousal support is meant to bridge the gap after the couple separates and ends with the final divorce decree. If the financial arrangements put in place during the separation are working, they may be transferred to the final decree. If you need support, don't wait. Speak to your divorce lawyer about getting temporary spousal support as soon as you are no longer living with your spouse.

Speak to a family law attorney to find out more about spousal support.