A divorce can be a difficult process, especially when one or both of the parties has financial concerns about their post-divorce life. Throughout Manchester and the rest of New Hampshire, divorcing parties can agree to or seek awards of support from their soon-to-be ex-spouses. This support can provide them with income on which to live while they work to become independent.
This post will introduce readers to 3 important facts about spousal support, also sometimes referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony. Though this post is informative, readers are reminded that this post should not be read as legal advice. All questions about divorce, support, and other family law matters can be asked of trusted divorce lawyers practicing in the state.
Fact #1: Support may be awarded to either party to a divorce
Historically, spousal support was provided to women who did not work outside the home and performed domestic duties such as raising children while their husbands worked for pay. When couples in this traditional arrangement divorced, women were often unprepared to enter the workforce to earn their own wages. Spousal support provided them with financial stability to become independent.
Now, however, both men and women share in the income-earning and domestic duties of their marital relationships. As such, spousal support can be awarded to both husbands and wives, depending on the structure of their individual marriages.
Fact #2: Spousal support does not have to be awarded during a divorce
Though spousal support can be awarded or agreed to between parties to divorce proceedings, it does not have to be a part of every divorce. When the parties to a marriage are both employed and are capable of living off their own wages following the end of their marriage, they may forego spousal support negotiations. Spousal support is intended to ensure that a financially disadvantaged spouse can pay for their needs once divorced, and not all divorces involve financially disadvantaged parties.
Fact #3: Not all spousal support awards and agreements look the same
There are many factors that can influence if spousal support will be awarded during a divorce, and if so, how much should be awarded. If a financially disadvantaged spouse has no skills to use to enter the workforce, they may receive support to learn a trade or go back to school to prepare for work. If a financially disadvantaged spouse is a retiree or is disabled and unable to work, they may receive a long-term or permanent award of support from their ex. In some cases spousal support may be awarded in a one-time lump sum, but in other cases it may be made periodically, such as every month.