Financial support after divorce can provide a critical safety net to help financially disadvantaged spouses make the transition out of divorce. These payments can be temporary or permanent depending on factors like the length of your marriage.
That said, there are a few reasons that could be preventing you or your ex from collecting spousal support after divorce.
A prenuptial agreement
Increasingly, people are signing prenuptial agreements to set expectations for property division and support in the event of a divorce before they get married. These agreements can provide crucial direction regarding the amount and duration of alimony.
That said, it could be possible for you or your ex to contest the validity of this agreement. If successful, these challenges could mean the courts set aside the contract, which could tremendously impact spousal support arrangements.
A lack of need
Spousal support is not a punishment for earning more, nor is it a prize for being the “better” spouse. It is a financial arrangement to equalize the economic positions of both parties.
In other words, if both parties are on relatively equal footing financially after a split, alimony may not be necessary. But if one person earns dramatically less money because they left their job to care for the home and kids during the marriage, getting back on their feet financially after divorce can be incredibly difficult – particularly if they made that (or a similar) decision many years ago.
Generally speaking, the longer a marriage is, the more unbalanced financial resources can be when parties split. Thus, if you were married for several years, there could be a higher likelihood of one person receiving alimony.
Remarrying or new domestic partnerships
You can expect to continue paying or receiving alimony throughout the duration of a court order. However, payments can stop if the party receiving support remarries or registers a new domestic partnership.
Even if neither of these events happens, alimony amounts can change over time. If either party experiences a significant change that makes the existing order unfair or unreasonable, they can ask the courts to modify the order.
Knowing why a person may not receive spousal maintenance can help you navigate this complicated – and often contentious – issue in your own divorce.