Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is a form of compensation awarded to a spouse after a divorce. The payments can be temporary, permanent, made monthly, or disbursed in one lump sum. Prior to starting the divorce process, most adults have little knowledge of alimony and often, their opinions are based on bits of gossip or second hand news. Basing your decisions on divorce and alimony myths could lead to disastrous consequences. Learning and dispelling the common alimony myths prior to negotiating your divorce in earnest ensures that you have a realistic idea of what to expect.

Alimony is Always Permanent

In the past, a person who did not work during his or her marriage had a good chance of receiving alimony for the duration of his or her spouse’s life. Now that the number of households with only one working parent has declined, it is no longer safe to assume that you will automatically receive permanent alimony. Today, the duration of time you receive alimony is based upon the individual case and the financial or educational needs of those involved. State governments are working to make alimony payments reasonable and fair for all parties.

Only Women Receive Alimony

The idea of women receiving alimony that is paid by their former husbands is one that was established during a time when almost all men were the income earners and women stayed at home with children. Today, the majority of households have spouses who both work and in some cases, the wife is the primary income earner. The number of men receiving alimony has steadily increased over time, with studies indicating that the trend will continue. Approximately 3% of men reported receiving alimony during the 2010 census and it is believed that as alimony being paid by both genders becomes the norm, more men will request it during their divorces.

Asking for Alimony Causes More Problems

Alimony is often equated with legal battles and extensive court room drama. In reality, the majority of divorces that involve some sort of maintenance payment request are handled without too much additional trouble. At least 90% of alimony negotiations are settled prior to going to court, and couples with a large income disparity between spouses are usually prepared to come to an agreement regarding support. There are some cases that do devolve into a lengthy litigation process, but on average, requesting alimony does not have a major impact on your divorce time frame.

Talking to an Attorney

Before making any decisions or agreements regarding receiving or paying alimony, it is important to speak to an alimony and spousal support attorney. An experienced lawyer can review your unique situation, financial concerns, and help you come up with the best plan of action. The team at Vayman & Teitelbaum realize that the needs of each divorcee are unique and we work hard to come up with solutions that address all of your concerns. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to schedule an initial consultation at one of our four Atlanta, Georgia offices so that we can begin providing you with the legal advice you need.