Divorce can drastically change your financial circumstances. After your divorce, you’re likely to be left with decreased household income, fewer cash reserves and assets, and more individual expenses that you’ll be responsible for paying. Does that reality have you stressed out?
Probably so, especially if you sacrificed a lot during your marriage to support your spouse and care for your children. In those circumstances, you might find yourself without the education, training and experience needed to secure employment that meets your needs. If that’s the position that you’re in now, then you might want to start thinking about whether you should seek spousal support.
How spousal support works in Alaska
Spousal support can be a great way to find financial stability while you focus on getting on your feet post-divorce. But an Alaskan court will only award alimony in certain circumstances. The first thing to recognize about the spousal support process is that the court can order one of three types of alimony:
- Temporary: This type of support is limited in duration. Its primary goal is to provide a lower-earning spouse with financial resources until the point that marital assets are divided and the final divorce decree is issued.
- Rehabilitative: This type of support is meant to be temporary to allow a lower-earning spouse the time, stability, and resources needed to obtain the skills, education, and training that is necessary to find employment post-divorce and thereby become self-sufficient. To obtain rehabilitative support, you’re going to have to tell the judge what your plan is for employment and how the support will help you achieve that goal.
- Reorientation: This type of support is also temporary in nature. It’s meant to help one of the spouses get acclimated to living in a one-income household.
The court may also order permanent support, but this is less common. Here, the court will order ongoing payments when the lesser-earning spouse is incapable of becoming self-sufficient. In most instances of permanent support, the recipient is of an age or possesses a disability that renders him or her unable to work.
Once the court determines the type of alimony that it wants to award, it will set the amount that is to be paid.
How a spousal support amount is determined
When deciding whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, how much should be paid, the court will take a lot of factors into consideration. Amongst them are:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The age and health of each spouse
- Each party’s ability to earn a wage, taking into account each spouse’s training, education, and skills
- Each spouse’s financial health
- How marital property is divided during the divorce
- Whether marital assets were unfairly depleted
- The marital standard of living
The court is also allowed to take any other factors into consideration that it deems relevant to its determination. Therefore, you have a lot of opportunities to argue why you’re entitled to support.
Do you need help crafting your arguments?
The outcome of your spousal support dispute can dictate your financial stability for years, perhaps even decades, to come. With so much at stake, you need to be prepared to present persuasive legal arguments that support your position. We know that can be an overwhelming thought, especially given that the court has so much leeway in the kind of evidence that it’ll consider.
If you think that you need help in developing your legal approach to your marriage dissolution and your spousal support dispute, then you might want to discuss the facts of your case with an attorney.