There are several ways to seek alimony, but the process can go faster and is much more likely to be successful if you have an attorney assisting you along the way. He or she can talk with you about the alimony laws for your state and what your rights are in getting financial support from your former spouse. Most often, alimony is awarded in the midst of divorce and may continue after it is finalized.
Requesting Alimony Support
If you are requesting the court for alimony payments, it essentially means that you need help on a regular basis due to the economic impacts of the separation. So, if your spouse made the most money in the household, chances are the court will view this as a reasonable request until you can reach financial stability independently. Whether you are approved for alimony depends on the factors of your divorce and the laws for your state. Your attorney is likely to suggest:
- Providing proof that your ex spouse’s earnings vastly exceeded yours during the marriage
- Showing how you are currently unable to cover your own living expenses, despite having employment
- Demonstrating how your living conditions will be negatively impacted without alimony support
The Judge’s Decision
A family court judge is the person who will be deciding whether you receive alimony support or not. To increase your chances of getting the alimony you need, it is crucial that you prove beyond a doubt that without the financial assistance you would be suffering. If you and your former spouse had agreed to an alimony arrangement in the past that fell through, it is a good idea to show this to the judge as well.
How to Maintain Alimony
Even if you are awarded permanent alimony, this doesn’t mean that the court cannot cancel it at any time. The terms of alimony and your divorce can be reviewed at the request of either spouse, and may be revised by the family court. For instance, alimony may be halted if the paying spouse can show how payments have become unnecessary. Your attorney may talk with you about ways to keep alimony payments coming, such as:
- Not remarrying
- Not moving in with another adult in which expenses are shared
- Avoiding disputes with your former spouse whenever possible
Mediation Versus Court-Ordered Alimony
Perhaps you and your former spouse have a decent relationship, so you decide to negotiate the terms of alimony over mediation. If you arrive at a solution that satisfies you both, you will still need this to be approved by the court. However, if mediation fails, chances are you will need help from an attorney if the alimony dispute has to be handled in court. If an alimony agreement is court-ordered, it becomes a legal obligation and there are consequences for spouses who fail to pay as they are instructed to by the court.