Spousal Support: The Facts

When you are in a marriage for a long time, life is comfortable; you get used to daily routines, you live with particular luxuries like the gym or expensive phone contracts, and everything is like the ending in a good romance movie.  Then one day, that changes.  Gone are the cozy evenings you once had with your partner, you have to cancel the phone contract as the money came from a joint account that no longer exists and you feel lonelier than ever.  What went wrong to that perfect ending? How can you cope going forward?

When you are in this situation, you need as much support as possible; this mostly involves financial help.  Alimony, Maintenance or Spousal Support in its various terms, refer to money awarded to an ex-partner if they cannot fund their lifestyle where the other partner can.  A stay at home mum, for example, would need funds should she chose to end her marriage and start a new life as she has not been earning any money.  But is it as easy and straightforward as that?


Anyone wishing to end their marriage can ask for spousal support. It does not have to be one-sided either.  It all comes down to the higher earner, and the judge will always have the final say.


The decision of the court is final.  If both parties agree on the amount of spousal support, it can make the final settlement easier all around.

There are different types of support, one of which is temporary spousal support.  You would request this during a divorce process.  When it has legally ended, this income would then either stop or continue with arranged terms and conditions.

If you do receive spousal support and wish to remarry, you may find yourself unable to gain more support.  In this instance, the case would then go back to court.

You can only ask for spousal support if you are living separately from your spouse.  Some people can be divorced and still living under the same roof.  If this happens, no support will be paid out.

The court usually states that only people in long-term marriages can gain spousal support, this is on average 20 years but each case is different, and there are a lot of newer laws in place which also favor couples in long-term relationships too.


Say, for example, you have been a stay at home parent for over ten years.  In that time, you have had no opportunities to gain qualifications or skills, but then you find yourself trying to find a job, and it’s becoming a struggle.  The judge would award you the entitlements over your ex-partner, who has been in a steady job for those ten years.

Spousal support is not a lifetime guarantee.  Usually, for shorter termed marriages it would be received for half the time of the union.  Ultimately, if you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, you need the financial assurance and assistance.