You can often hear stories about divorce and alimony settlements but it is better to stick to facts.
Things have changed in recent times. Current alimony laws and the way support is decided often reflect modern relationships. Rather than how families lived in the past.
Here is an overview of how divorce settlements are currently reached, what alimony actually means and how to choose the right option. You can secure the new post-divorce life you deserve.
Modern relationships have changed the way a divorce is settled
It starts with serving divorce papers. Then, sometime later, a settlement will hopefully be agreed between the two of you.
Divorce was handled rather differently in previous generations. Alimony was often awarded exclusively to the woman in recognition of women’s contributions to raising a family and the fact that they once almost exclusively relied on their husband for an income.
These days the family dynamic has changed. Spousal alimony or support is likely to be awarded to either the man or the woman. This is now dependant on who should be compensated for their contributions to the home or their spouse’s career advancement.
There are currently far more marriages where both spouses work and are equally capable of supporting themselves independently.
This creates a conundrum when you divorce. Working out how much to award now depends mainly on the state laws applicable to your marriage. The level of settlement is also influenced by financial needs and the ability of the other spouse to meet these demands.
How alimony is determined
It is important to understand that each state operates a different set of rules when it comes to alimony.
This fact alone should be sufficient reason to consider talking to an attorney. Get a professional opinion on your divorce options.
As a general rule, alimony is often determined by evaluating the financial assets and income within the marriage. Each person’s post-divorce income potential is also considered.
There are so many other factors that could come into play when deciding alimony. If one of you has had an extra-marital affair, this could work against you in certain states.
How you both financially supported each other in the marriage, and even the length of your marriage are all potential factors that will often be addressed when trying to reach an alimony settlement.
Making the right choice
Being awarded alimony is one thing. Choosing the right option is equally critical if you are going to be able to move on with your new life as smoothly as possible.
Alimony might be awarded and paid in one lump sum. It might also be awarded on a permanent or temporary basis. Your own unique circumstances will largely determine how much money you will get and how long for.
If you need time to establish your own independence and become financially self-sufficient. A rehabilitative alimony might be a good choice. It would give you the money required to get the education and job-skills necessary to start a career and become self-sufficient.
Other options include lump-sum spousal support, now often granted instead of a property settlement. You might be awarded permanent spousal support. This continues until you remarry or it could end when you cohabit with a new partner.
Get professional help making the right decision on alimony. It will also depend on what the court decides to award as financial compensation.
Surviving your divorce marks a new chapter in your life. Sorting out the right deal and understanding your spousal support options will help you to move on.
The fact that you are now out of that situation, is a reason in itself to be positive and happy about taking a new direction.
There is an enduring gender stereotype that might potentially ring true for you. Men are often considered to be more fearful about the prospect of being alone after the domesticity of marriage. Women often prioritize happiness over marriage, making them less fearful of independence.
Your gender is far less relevant to how alimony is decided. Take the time to understand your options. This will help you to get a settlement that reflects your current and future needs.
Isabel Wilkinson works as a secretary at a busy law office. As a twice-divorced woman herself, she is able to add some personal knowledge as well as professional knowledge in her articles.