Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a form of payment given from one spouse to another during or after a divorce. In Rhode Island, either spouse may be eligible for support if the other spouse makes a large portion of the income. It is up to the family court judge to determine whether a spouse qualifies for alimony, and he will typically examine the age, health, occupation, income, and employability of the low-earning spouse before granting and assigning an amount of alimony.
Spousal Support May Be Temporary or Permanent
There are many issues that can affect your eligibility for spousal support and the amount you receive. If both spouses have signed a prenuptial agreement, this can significantly limit the amount of financial compensation one spouse gives to another. However, spousal support can be ordered even with a pre-nup if the removal of all support would make one of the spouses eligible for public assistance.
Simply because a person is awarded alimony does not mean she will be eligible for those payments forever. The receiving spouse’s economic situation and the length of the marriage is used to determine whether alimony will be:
- Temporary. Temporary spousal support is usually granted at the beginning of the divorce proceedings and is only given until the divorce has been finalized.
- Rehabilitative. This alimony is granted for a fixed period of time to allow the receiving spouse to achieve or work toward a specific goal. This can include going back to school to get a degree, building a work history, or enrolling in a work-training program so that supplemental support will not be needed later.
- Indefinite. Most Rhode Island courts consider alimony to be a short-term source of support, and it’s usually granted only until the former spouse becomes self-sufficient. However, alimony may be awarded long-term, even permanently, if the receiving spouse is disabled or otherwise unable to work.
Some spouses will not receive alimony simply because the other party cannot afford to pay support payments. In some cases, spouses may not receive spousal support because the other party is under obligation to pay child support before paying alimony. If you need help determining how much you can receive during and after your divorce, we can help. Simply fill out our online contact form today to set up your initial consultation with a family law attorney.