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What to expect from a spousal support request

When a spouse has asked for alimony in a divorce, the other spouse may have concerns about the request and may not know what to do. Fortunately, the divorce process provides resources to help divorcing spouses seeking spousal support but also those opposing a request of spousal support.

The court may decide to award alimony, or spousal support, to one of the spouses from the other or alimony may be agreed upon by the divorcing spouses themselves. Alimony is intended to eliminate any unfair impact of the divorce by providing continuing support to a lower-wage earning or non-wage earning spouse. The basic thinking and purpose behind alimony is that one spouse may have foregone a career to care for the home and family and will need time to become self-sufficient.

When considering alimony, it is important to know how much alimony will be awarded and for how long. Factors that are used to determine an alimony award include the age, physical condition and emotional and financial conditions of each of the former spouses; the length of time the recipient spouse would need to obtain education and training to become self-sufficient; the couple's standard of living during the marriage; the length of the marriage; and the ability of the paying spouse to support both themselves and the spouse receiving support.

Alimony may be paid it different ways and for different reasons but because of the concerns both spouses may have surrounding it, and the concerns some may have about needing it and others may have about an inability to pay it, alimony is an important part of the divorce process to understand. Alimony can be a contentious part of a divorce which is why divorcing couples should understand as much as possible about it when it is requested.

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