Spousal support claims are usually dynamic. Knowing the laws that apply to your case is critical. Read our blog to increase your chances of winning.

Divorce isn’t something any couple wants to come to. People marry with the intention of staying together until death. However, life’s complexities may drive couples to divorce. Afterward, the question of spousal support sets in. The usual worry is about who gets it and how much or what happens if a partner fails to provide this support. This guide answers all these questions.

Basics of spousal support

Also referred to as alimony, spousal support is financial help that one partner pays to the other after divorce. The aim is to help the one who earns less maintain a certain standard of living. However, there are different forms of spousal support you ought to be aware of.

First is temporary support, which is offered during the divorce proceedings to help the partner through the tough time. There is also rehabilitative support, which helps the disadvantaged spouse find footing and become financially stable. Finally, there is permanent support, which is given until the partner dies or remarries.

It’d help to note that spousal support is different from child support. The latter is specifically meant for the kids’ needs. In some cases, you may have to pay both.

Evaluating eligibility

Different jurisdictions have varying eligibility criteria for alimony. It isn’t always that the wife will automatically be offered support by the husband, as many people presume. The Supreme Court declared alimony gender-neutral in 1979, meaning the husband or wife can receive it.

The first factor is how long you’ve been with your partner. In many cases, the more years you’ve spent together, the higher the likelihood of being granted spousal support. This is because both of your finances have significantly intertwined by this time, you’ve invested in multiple properties together, and it’s difficult to completely separate one’s earnings from the other.

Another element the courts look at is the partner’s ability to pay. It isn’t logical to make one broke just to help the other. If the spouse can’t afford the payments, perhaps due to poor earnings or unemployment, you may not receive any cash.

Partners in same-sex marriage, having been legalized through the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, are now eligible for alimony upon divorce.

Knowing these dynamics helps you prepare psychologically for what lies ahead. Moreover, you can argue your case knowledgeably and get a fair amount.

But for better outcomes, it’d help to hire an attorney specialized in family law. A local firm well-versed in state laws should be your go-to option. For instance, you’d want to go for an Aurora family law attorney if you live in this Colorado city or the surrounding areas. They’ll help you through the intricacies of spousal support claims.

Requisite documentation

You can lodge a spousal support claim without the necessary paperwork. First, you need detailed tax returns to give an accurate picture of your financial situation. Besides, you’d want to compile your pay stubs, bank statements, retirement account statements, and a list of debts you owe. All these details help the courts understand your financial standing.

The more detailed you get, the better. Scanty information about your finances may tilt the case against you, as the judges won’t be able to make a fair judgment. So take time to compile all the necessary documentation.

Calculating the amount and duration

This is perhaps the most significant step: determining how much money will be paid by the other spouse monthly and for how long they should keep on supporting. Courts employ a specific formula that takes into account the spouses’ earnings, their standards of living until the time of divorce, and the needs of the partner receiving the alimony. There’s no generalized amount that cuts across all families. It all depends on a spouse’s situation.

When determining the duration of support, judges consider the length of the marriage and how soon the recipient can become self-sufficient. For a marriage that has lasted only a few months or years, the support is usually temporary. Some states set the duration of support at half the number of years the marriage lasted.

Contrarily, longer marriages may attract lifetime support. Long-term payments are also ideal if the recipient is ill or disabled or the children make it difficult for the custodian to earn a living.

It also helps to note that taxation on alimony was dropped in 2019. It’s no longer considered taxable income, meaning you keep all the cash received.

Enforcing spousal support

Spousal support arrangements aren’t unchangeable. Life is dynamic, and the worst can happen after the initial agreement. For example, the recipient can lose their job, become sick, or remarry. In such instances, there may be a need to modify the alimony agreements.

The ex-spouse may also fail to remit the agreed amounts to the recipient. The victim can go to court to argue their case. Possible interventions include penalties and jailing. Knowing typical legal grounds for alimony modifications is critical, ensuring your emerging needs aren’t ignored.


While everyone aims for a successful marriage, unforeseen situations may lead to divorce or separation, for which the disadvantaged spouse must get financial help. Being proactive during spousal support claims is critical. So make an effort to understand the laws that apply to your case and gather the necessary documents. And above all, don’t ignore legal advice. Hiring an attorney gives you a higher chance of being granted alimony.

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Mayank Shekhar

Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is an alumnus of the prestigious Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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