Divorce cases consist of a series of significant, consequential judgments that can affect one or both spouses. Questions about child custody, and property division are usually the highlights of a case. In some cases, however, the judge can include it as a stipulation in a family court ruling.

Spousal financial aid in some jurisdictions - is the obligation of one spouse to pay the other spouse after everything is finalized. Although the details vary from case to case, it is usually awarded so that one spouse can maintain the lifestyle they had before separation.

This isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. The judge may award different types of spousal payments under different circumstances.


Temporary - is also known as separate payment and maintenance. It's not "alimony" in the purest sense, but applies to the period of financial help during the hearings.

Permanent - is the most common type and is paid on a recurring basis by one spouse financially helping the another. This is usually paid indefinitely, but the stipulations can change if one spouse gets remarried or begins to cohabitate with another person.

Rehabilitative - is scheduled for a fixed period of time so that a spouse who has less earning power or professional experience can get on their feet while they make the transition to a new lifestyle.

Reimbursement - is often awarded to spouses who provided for higher education and career development expenses for the other spouse during a marriage. A common example is a wife helping her husband financially while he's attending graduate school or getting vocational training. Depending on the judge's ruling, that wife could be entitled to recoup the money she used to help her husband at the time.

Lump-sum - is a one-time payment to one spouse, usually in lieu of that spouse not wanting any property or assets from the marriage.

How does a judge determine how much is owed? Here are some of the factors that the court uses to decide if one spouse will be responsible for it and what their obligations will be.

The assets, income and future earning capacity of each spouse: If one spouse has a disproportionately high income and future earning capacity, they will generally be the ones who are ordered to pay if the judge decides a ruling is appropriate.

Length of the marriage: The longer the marriage and interdependency of the husband and wife, the more likely the judge is to award it to the spouse in a lesser financial position after the marriage.

Standard of living while married: If one spouse is used to living a certain lifestyle via the high salary of their spouse, they'll often be awarded it so they don't experience a significant drop-off in their lifestyle after the divorce.

Fault in: Did one spouse cheat, or do they have a drug problem? In many states, fault isn't a factor when deciding. But some states still award it to the party who was wrong in the marriage.

Marriage agreements: If it is a component of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it can be a deciding factor in who gets or who doesn't get awarded.

Although it's widely believed that women are the only people eligible to receive it, gender equality in the family court system has led many judges to grant it to men.

If you think you deserve spousal aid - or if you want to avoid paying it - it's best to consult with an experienced family attorney. Finding an attorney is just a matter of asking friends and family who've been divorced or browsing the local yellow pages. Knowing how it works can enable you to better communicate with your attorney and the court regarding your case.

Author's Bio: 

Smith Barlay has a wild passion of IT, especially IT Certifications, IT Exams, Internet, Searchengine Optimization techniques and Social Media.