Spousal support and “alimony” are the same thing
Whether someone can get spousal support depends on a number of things including:
* How long you were married;
* The contributions each of you has made to the marriage;
* Whether one of you gave up working to raise your children;
* One party’s education, ability to get a good job, health, and income as compared to the other spouse;
* One person’s need for alimony and the other person’s ability to pay alimony; and
* Whether one of you is in a much better financial situation compared to the other spouse.
There are so many factors to consider in a decision about alimony that there is no basic standard for when alimony will be awarded by a court.
But a way to think about it is whether one spouse will be significantly economically disadvantaged as the result of a divorce. In that situation, alimony would be used to provide a certain level of support while the disadvantaged spouse gets on his or her economic feet.
There are a number of important things to remember about spousal support. Here are a few:
* It is a complicated issue.
* Generally it is a temporary bridge paid for a specified period of time. It is not intended to be a lifetime supplement to a person’s income.
* An award of spousal support could affect a person’s eligibility for public benefits, including Medicaid.
* If you get re-married, spousal support ends.
* To order spousal support, a court will need specific proof about differences in the parties’ ability to earn money, and why those differences exist.
* A court cannot order your spouse to pay alimony unless your spouse has been personally “served” with notice of the divorce or has “voluntarily appeared” before the court.
* If you do not ask for alimony at the time of the divorce, you give up the possibility of ever getting alimony.
Resources: Divorce in Nebraska, Dunne & Koenig, pp. 138-144 (Addicus Books, 2d Ed. 2013); Neb.Rev. Stat.§42-365.