You and your spouse divorce, but you worry about your finances as it’s been years since you worked outside of the home. You took care of the children and collectively spent the money your spouse earned. Now that you and your spouse move toward separation, you wonder how you will sustain yourself.

In Maine, spousal support may provide temporary or long-term relief to a non-wage-earning or a lower-ware-earning spouse. If divorce puts undue hardship on a spouse that earns less or nothing, he or she will not be able to provide for themselves or their children. Applying for spousal support allows for a more fair split of assets after a divorce.

Elements of spousal support

For a spouse to receive support from his or her ex-spouse, a judge must determine specific aspects of the agreement. A court grants an order to begin spousal support with the following identifications.

  1. The type of support awarded
  2. The method of payments and limitations
  3. Whether the agreement is subject to modification
  4. The factors that the court cites as reasons for ordering the support

For many families, specific types of spousal support may prove beneficial depending on family situations, as well as the condition and abilities of each spouse. Types of support include:

  • General support: Offering general support occurs when one spouse earns significantly more than another spouse.
  • Transitional support: A court may award transitional support when a lesser-earning spouse trains or seeks education in new work to provide for themselves or their family.
  • Reimbursement support: Though unique, a court may award reimbursement support to equalize the distribution of finances after a divorce due to the economic misconduct by a spouse during marriage.
  • Nominal support: Nominal support makes sure that the court has authority to increase spousal support in the future.
  • Interim support: While the divorce is pending, interim support is awarded to a low-earning spouse for monetary support.

Determining spousal support amounts

A Maine court looks at multiple factors when determining the amount of alimony to be awarded. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The ability of each spouse to pay
  • The age, health, and disabilities of each spouse
  • The employment history, education, retirement benefits of each spouse
  • The tax consequences of marital property
  • The contributions of each spouse in education, potential income
  • The contributions of each spouse as a homemaker

The court looks at many elements to determine the exact amount of spousal support during and after a divorce. Know that the state of Maine works to provide an equal opportunity for both spouses to support themselves and succeed after separation.