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Are You Entitled To Alimony (Spousal Support)?


Not every former spouse receives alimony, which is also called spousal support or maintenance. Alimony will be awarded only when a former spouse is unable to meet their needs without financial assistance from a spouse who can afford to pay it. Spousal support may be temporary, such as when a former spouse needs time to get back into the job market, brush up on skills, complete an educational program, or raise the children; or permanent, such as when a spouse may never become self-supporting due to age or disability.

Your answers to the questions below can help you and your lawyer determine whether you're a candidate for alimony (and if so, how much), or, conversely, whether your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is, such that you will be liable for spousal support payments. FindLaw's Guide to Spousal Support pamphlet and guide to state-specific alimony laws and forms in your state are also helpful.

Questionnaire: Are You Entitled to Alimony?

Answer the following questions for yourself if you think you may be entitled to alimony, or as you think your spouse would answer them if you wonder whether you may be required to pay alimony.

How long have you and your current spouse been married? _____ years

Are you currently employed? Yes _____ No _____

Full time _____ Part-time _____ (_____ hours per _____)

If yes, for how long? _____ years

How much do you earn? $_____ per _____

For how many years of your marriage have you been employed? _____ years full time / _____ years part-time

If you are not currently employed or are employed part-time, explain why.

What post-high school education do you have? _______________________________________

What jobs did you hold before this marriage?

Were you employed when you got married? Yes _____ No _____

If yes, what was your position? ________________________ Salary $_____ per _____

If no, explain.

Have you obtained additional education or developed new skills during your marriage?

Yes _____ No _____

If yes, explain.

Are you in good health? Yes _____ No _____

Explain any health-related limitations on your being self-supporting.

Explain any non-health-related limitations on your being self-supporting (e.g., child care responsibilities, currently in school, extended absence from the job market, lack of marketable skills, transportation concerns, etc.)

Did you support your spouse during your marriage while he or she obtained an advanced degree or professional training? Yes _____ No _____

If yes, explain.

Did you put your career on hold during your marriage in order to support your spouse's career, professional development, or business development? Yes _____ No _____

If yes, explain.

Do you plan on working after the divorce? Yes _____ No _____

Full time _____ Part-time _____ (_____ hours per _____)

Do you know what your post-divorce income will be? Yes _____ , $_____ per _____ / No _____

What are your post-divorce monthly expenses estimated to be? $_________/month

Please itemize your monthly expenses:

Can you continue to maintain the lifestyle you enjoyed during the marriage without spousal support? Yes _____ No _____

Did you enter into a prenuptial agreement before marrying your spouse that addressed spousal support in the event of a divorce? Yes _____ No _____

If yes, summarize the agreement with respect to spousal support here and provide a copy of the agreement to your attorney.

In your opinion, can your spouse afford to provide you with financial support while maintaining a standard of living for himself or herself similar to that enjoyed during the marriage? Yes _____ No _____

Provide any other information that you believe is important to a determination of whether you should receive spousal support.

Questions for my attorney:

Think You're Entitled to Spousal Support? Contact an Attorney Today

If you're attempting to receive alimony payments from your former spouse, whether to help supplement your income, allow you to finish school, or otherwise, it's important to know the laws in your state and how they may apply to your situation.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to contact a local divorce attorney who will be able to explain your right to spousal support and help you meet any filing deadlines.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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