Requesting Alimony After A Divorce: Your Legal Right

February 25, 2015  

Alimony refers to financial spousal support after a divorce. It was set into place to ensure that one spouse does not suffer financially after a divorce.

How do I get Alimony?

If you need financial support from your ex-spouse, you can ask for it during the divorce proceedings. If you reach a settlement amount with your spouse even before the proceedings, you can present it to court and ask the judge to include the agreement in the court order.If, for one reason or another, you cannot reach an agreement, a judge can decide whether you are entitled to alimony during the divorce proceedings based on your financial capacity to support yourself.Can I Still Apply for Alimony After the Divorce is Final? While alimony is requested during the divorce proceedings and should be agreed on before the final court ruling, there are some instances where a spouse does not ask for alimony but later realizes that it is necessary after all. If the divorce has already been finalized and no alimony was requested, it is harder to get a court order for financial support but it is not impossible.It is worth noting, however, that since family laws vary from one state to another, the process may be different depending on your state’s laws. In our practice area which is in the region of NYC, divorce lawyers who have the legal know-how are able to find loopholes to get their client alimony even after the divorce was agreed upon without alimony.

In most states, if a request for alimony is filed after the divorce has been finalized, the party requesting for alimony must be able to provide adequate proof that there has been a change in their financial circumstances after the divorce.

To get a court ordered financial support approved, you must be able to prove that the changes in your financial situation came about as a result of unforeseen circumstances before the final ruling was established. This is harder to prove in cases where the divorce came about as a mutual agreement between both parties and you must be able to show the court that your financial situation did not come about as a result of your own doing (e.g. refusing to get a job after a divorce versus inability to work after a divorce).

What Happens if Your Spouse Refuses to Pay Alimony

In cases where your ex-spouse refuses to agree on alimony payments, it is left to the discretion of the judge to determine whether you will be granted alimony. Since times have changed and most families are now two-income families where both spouses earn a living, it is fairly common for courts to only grant temporary alimony or rehabilitative alimony. In such cases, alimony payments are only given until the receiving spouse is able to get a job or get married again.

In deciding whether alimony will be granted or not (when there is no mutual consent), the judge will examine your financial situation, how much time it will take for you to get employment, your standard of living while you were married, the length of time you were married, the reasons for divorce, as well the mental and physical state of both you and your spouse during and after divorce.

Since divorce laws can vary from one jurisdiction to another, it is best to contact a local divorce attorney regarding alimony requests.

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