Am I automatically entitled to alimony?

One of the first questions that many prospective clients ask is whether or not they automatically get alimony, also known as maintenance or spousal support. The answer is well, not necessarily. Alimony is awarded many times but it is entirely situational.

Here’s an example of a situation in which a person would likely receive alimony payments from their spouse after their divorce. Let’s say the couple was married for 25 years. Their children are grown and now they realize they want different things for the remainder of their life. One of the spouses spent his/her entire married life raising the children and never really had a steady career that would allow them to financially support themselves after a divorce. They are at an age in their life in which it is too late to go back to school and start a new career and if they had a career, they would probably be getting ready to retire within the next 10 years or so. They never had to worry about an income because their spouse worked to support the family financially. In this situation, the “less monied” spouse, meaning the spouse who did not have a career outside the home, would probably receive alimony payments.

On the other hand, if both spouses had careers that could allow them to be financially independent after the divorce takes place, there really is not a need for alimony to be awarded. However, if a spouse is financially independent for just themselves but they have custody of the children, they are probably going to receive child support payments instead of spousal support payments.

It is entirely situational but you should not always assume that you will receive alimony to save yourself from disappointment. If you have questions about whether your particular circumstances may be privy to collect spousal support after your divorce, it is important to speak with your attorney.

Judith Goldberg is an experienced Boca Raton mediator serving Palm Beach and Broward County, Florida. If you need a compassionate mediator to guide you through your family law matter, contact our Boca Raton office for a free consultation.