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When you are going through a divorce, it can be difficult to determine whether you should request spousal support payments. Some people are concerned with how others may view their request. However, if you’ve sacrificed certain things for the benefit of your ex, there’s no shame in asking for spousal support. You may also wish to request support payments if you have a job that pays significantly less than what your ex earns.

Why spousal support exists

Despite people’s perceptions, spousal support is not reserved for greedy people looking for a free payday. As the name implies, it exists to help support a dependent spouse on their path to independence.

If you put your career aside to help raise your children, spousal support payments can provide you with the financial means to go back to school or help you receive the training you need to burnish your resume. If you and your ex relied on a shared income, and your ex makes quite a bit more than you do, support payments can help you maintain the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed.

Factors used in determining spousal support

Unlike child support, there are no concrete guidelines for determining how much spousal support you should receive. You will have to show that you are at least partially dependent on the income or lifestyle provided by your ex. If your job pays $1,000 a year less than what your ex makes, your request will probably not be granted. Support amounts and how long they are set to last depend on several factors, including:

  • Your earning ability
  • Age
  • Retirement benefits
  • The length of the marriage
  • Employment opportunities
  • Level of education

Permanent spousal support orders are rare. However, support determinations can vary widely. You should work with a skilled legal professional who can help you assert your interests if you’re seeking spousal support.