SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE LAWYER
When a marriage breaks up, there may be cases where there is a significant imbalance in the spouses’ financial situation, with one of them being left in a very precarious state. The most typical case is where a woman has dedicated her entire life to taking care of her family and has not had a career; but it isn’t solely limited to that example, there can be many other cases.
In those cases, the weaker spouse can request spousal maintenance or spousal support which must be paid by the spouse that is better off financially, and will aid the weak party to continue living with dignity after the divorce. The payments may be ongoing for a certain amount of time, or even permanent.
When the conjugal economic regime applicable to the marriage is that of separate ownership of assets it is possible to request compensation if the wife has taken care of the family and the house while the husband earned money at work, and kept it all as private property in his name.
Spousal maintenance can be eliminated requesting a modification of arrangement if the circumstances under which it was set forth in the divorce decree change.
WHAT TO DO IF…
One of the bigger issues that every divorce faces, is whether or not spousal maintenance should be paid. To answer the question, it is important to analyse whether the divorce will lead to an imbalance in the spouses’ financial situation, and if it can be offset.
Imbalance shouldn’t be confused with being worse off after a divorce; obviously, certain expenses which were paid jointly, such as mortgage, rent, water, electricity, etc. will now be paid alone.
However, if one of the spouses doesn’t work, or has a very low income and was financially dependent on the other, it is very important that spousal maintenance be requested, and where applicable some sort of compensation to avoid one of the spouses -typically, the wife- from being financially vulnerable.
EXAMPLES OF SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE AND COMPENSATION
When we got married, we opted out of the Community of Acquests and Gains regime and decided on separate conjugal property since we both worked, but shortly after our wedding our children were born. At the time, we decided it was best if I stopped working to take care of them. We never changed the arrangement, and after twenty years of marriage my husband has decided he wants a divorce, and I find myself with no career and no assets. I am going to request spousal maintenance and compensation.
When we got divorced five years ago, I was ordered to pay life-long or permanent spousal maintenance to my wife because she had never worked. But now, she’s set up her own business and I know she is making significant money. I want to request that the spousal maintenance be terminated.
I stopped working for ten years to take care of my children, and now that we are getting a divorce I need some time to get ready for the job market and look for employment. I would like spousal maintenance to help me through this period, until I can get back on my feet and find a stable job.