Are There Differences between Spousal Support and Alimony?

When you’re looking at the issues around separation and divorce, there are a lot of things that you’re going to be exploring and learning about. It’s already emotionally difficult, but financial difficulty can also be a thing that you need to try and make sense of. What if you or your spouse need some sort of financial help because of the burden of separation and/or divorce?

There are two different paths that can be taken here – spousal support and alimony. We’re going to take a look at them here, but remember, this is not legal advice. Talking with your Alimony and Spousal Support Lawyer in Minneapolis can be a good first step in understanding what is going on between these things, but it’s also a good idea to have some knowledge before you get started with anything.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is a temporary thing, and it’s legally listed under something else. Different states have different rules around spousal support, and it’s even more complex if child support is also considered. The spouses need to reside in different locations and they can’t be divorced yet. Legal separation is (usually) acceptable, depending on the circumstances and the state that you reside in.

Spousal support is meant to be a transitional thing. It’s about one spouse taking care of the other’s financial needs as they straighten things out during the separation period. Whether they get back together or the relationship ends in divorce, spousal support will end at the point of resolution. If divorce is the result, that’s when the legal option of alimony may be on the table.

What is Alimony?

Alimony pendente lite, usually just referred to as alimony, is a type of spousal support that is only available after the divorce has been finalized. What will happen is that the court will make calculations based on the amount of need, facts around the divorce, and anything else that may impact one (now ex) spouse’s need. If there’s some sort of income deficiency or disadvantage that occurs due to the divorce, the spouse that is in the more favorable financial position may need to pay.

Alimony and/or spousal support are not always granted in a separation or divorce case. The court will only consider alimony as an option when everything has been settled and the assets have been split accordingly. If, after that has happened, the numbers are still skewed, then alimony proceedings will start and they will have to work out the details that are related to the process at hand.

Talk with your lawyer if there seems to be a concern in regards to financial need and support in these areas. They can help you to sort out the details and ensure that you have a solid understanding of what it is that you need to take care of. Court issues may become something to look at here, so you want to be sure that you learn as much as possible and work things out.