As you navigate your divorce, you’ll want to find ways to stabilize your finances once your marriage dissolution is wrapped up and you move on to the next stage of your life. One way to do that is to focus on property division. If you can successfully negotiate or litigate for your fair share of the marital assets (Pennsylvania calls this Equitable Distribution) then you might be able to secure some financial stability for yourself.
But you can’t stop there. Another area where you can find significant support is through alimony. Alimony consists of financial support one ex-spouse pays to another after a divorce is finalized. It is often considered a necessary source of financial stability.
How to maximize your chances of receiving alimony
To best position yourself for a successful alimony request, you have to understand the factors that the court will take into consideration when making its determination on the issue. Therefore, as you prepare to head into your divorce, make sure you have a handle on these key issues:
- Your marital standard of living: When addressing spousal support, the court will aim for a resolution that allows each party to maintain the marital standard of living post-divorce. That can be difficult to do, but to assist the court in gauging your marital standard of living you’ll want to gather evidence showing key aspects of your marital life, such as the house that you lived in, the cars that you drove, the shopping that you conducted, and the vacations that you took. Be as thorough as possible here.
- Each spouse’s financial resources: The purpose of alimony is to give you financial support until you become self-sufficient. The court will look at each spouse’s financial resources before determining whether spousal support is appropriate. So, be ready to present evidence as to your limited resources and your spouse’s ability to cover their own standard of living as well as contribute to yours. Keep in mind that the court will assess each spouse’s earning capacity, too. Seeing your spouse’s financial records is a good first step here.
- Contributions made to the marriage: You’ll be in a stronger position to request alimony if you can show that you made significant contributions to the marriage. Giving up a career to help raise your family or to relocate with your spouse for their job can serve as examples of contributions that you’ve made and that should be compensated. Write down every contribution you can think of to present later on.
- Parenting responsibilities: Although you might be able to recover child support if you end up with custody of your children, you might also to use your responsibility to your children as another justification for alimony, especially if you are a primary physical custodian or your children require significant daily-medical-care.
- Adultery: While fault doesn’t always come into play when dealing with divorce legal issues, it can in a spousal support dispute. You might feel uncomfortable airing the dirty laundry of your marriage, but if doing so is going to get you the financial resources that you need, then it’s well worth the effort. Therefore, carefully think about how you can’t paint the picture of your spouse’s infidelities.
Craft the persuasive alimony-related arguments you need
There’s a lot that goes into a spousal support request. With that in mind, be sure to take the time needed to develop persuasive and well-founded legal arguments. This will require knowing the law and gathering compelling evidence, but you shouldn’t be daunted by the process. Instead, do your best to keep your eye on the prize and the future that you deserve. Hopefully then you can achieve the outcome that positions you for post-divorce success.