Question from Dina, How Can I Obtain Spousal Support After Divorce?
Answer from AI:
If you are seeking spousal support after a divorce, there are several factors to consider and steps to take. It’s important to understand that spousal support laws can vary significantly from state to state, so you will need to consult the specific laws in your jurisdiction. Here are some general guidelines to help you navigate the process:
Understanding Spousal Support
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment from one ex-spouse to the other after a divorce. It is intended to provide financial assistance to the spouse who earned less income or stayed at home during the marriage. The purpose of spousal support is to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage, especially if they sacrificed their career or education to support the family.
Factors Affecting Spousal Support
When determining the amount of spousal support, courts typically consider factors such as:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial resources and earning capacity
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The age and health of both spouses
- Contributions to the marriage, including homemaking and child-rearing
- Any sacrifices made by one spouse for the other’s education or career
Steps to Request Spousal Support
- Review Your Divorce Decree: Since the issue of spousal support was left open in your case, review your divorce decree to understand the specific terms under which spousal support can be revisited.
- Gather Documentation: Collect evidence of your financial situation, your ex-husband’s income, and any factors that contribute to your need for support, such as your disability and homelessness.
- Calculate Potential Support: While there is no one-size-fits-all formula, you can research spousal support calculators for your state or consult with a family law attorney to estimate a reasonable amount based on your circumstances.
- File a Motion: You will need to file a motion with the court that handled your divorce, requesting a hearing to determine spousal support. This motion should outline your current situation and the reasons you are seeking support.
- Prepare for the Hearing: Be ready to present your case at the hearing, including any evidence and arguments for why you should receive spousal support.
- Consider Legal Representation: Given the complexity of your situation and the fact that you have faced challenges in court previously, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of a family law attorney.
Legal Representation and Resources
While you can represent yourself in court, known as “pro se,” the intricacies of family law often necessitate professional legal advice. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system, prepare your case, and advocate on your behalf. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may qualify for legal aid or pro bono services in your area.
Securing spousal support can be a complex process, especially if you have been out of the workforce for a significant period or are now disabled. It is crucial to present a clear and well-documented case to the court. Remember, this information is general in nature, and you should consult with a legal professional for personalized advice. For more information on spousal support and to find legal resources, you can visit the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section or your state’s legal aid website.
Please note that this information is not legal advice, and it is important to consult with a family law attorney in your jurisdiction to address your specific situation.