20 Mar How to File or Obtain Alimony After You’ve Divorced
Ideally, determining and filing for alimony is part of the divorce process. However, at Bloom Law Office, we know that divorce is rarely easy or straightforward. It’s not uncommon for one former spouse to discover after the divorce is final that they need or qualify for spousal support (otherwise known as alimony). The divorce may have been messy, happened quickly, or maybe the circumstances have changed drastically since the divorce. It’s possible to re-open alimony considerations after a divorce is finalized.
Spousal Support and Alimony Requirements
The rules vary state to state and often fall under a judge’s discretion. Usually, alimony is brought up in the initial divorce proceedings, but even if that was the case it doesn’t mean a former spouse is permanently denied alimony. It does mean that the former spouse seeking alimony needs to show a shift in circumstances or that they were under duress during the divorce proceedings. That’s why having a reputable divorce attorney is so critical.
The goal of alimony is to ensure one former spouse doesn’t suddenly have a negative change in their quality of life due to the divorce. For example, a stay at home parent who opted out of a career in order to care for children may suddenly have little means of supporting themselves. In circumstances where a divorce is finalized, and one former spouse seeks support, a judge will consider the financial situation of each spouse. Next, a determination is made on alimony amount.
Today’s alimony settlements are different than in the past because it’s common that both spouses work. This means alimony is usually awarded on a temporary or “rehabilitative” basis. These types of alimony payments stop at a set date or when the former spouse receiving alimony remarries and/or becomes “self-sufficient.” Numerous factors may be considered to determine both the amount and rehabilitative end-date, such as fault in the divorce and education levels.
Obtaining Post-Divorce Alimony
The original claims in the divorce may also play a factor in receiving alimony post-divorce. For instance, if the divorce was agreed upon by both parties, the spouse seeking alimony will need to show significant changes to their circumstance. In some cases, being suddenly laid off may be a reasonable cause-but not always. It needs to be proven that the change in circumstances was not known prior to the divorce.