Spousal support can be a great way to ensure that you have financial stability post-divorce. And the law is gender neutral. This means that even stay-at-home dads can seek alimony from their ex-spouse. In fact, those who have given up a job and career advancement in order to raise children are oftentimes in a strong position to obtain a spousal support order.
So, what do you, as a stay-at-home dad or a sacrificing husband need to do to build your claim for spousal support? Here are some things for you to consider moving forward:
- What sacrifices have you made? We mentioned giving up a career to take care of your children, but you may have made other sacrifices during your marriage. You may have worked to support your spouse while he or she obtained higher education, or you may have left your job in order to move with your spouse for his or her job, only to find that you couldn’t find similar work. These sacrifices can form the foundation of your spousal support claim, as they will help establish where you could have been had you not given up so much for your spouse and your marriage.
- What was your marital standard of living? A court will do its best to place you in a position where you can enjoy the standard of living that you had during your marriage. That’s not always possible, of course, but your alimony order will try to get you as close to that marital standard of living as possible. So, consider the home you lived in, the car that you drove, the entertainment and recreation that you engaged in, and the vacations that you took during your marriage and be ready to present evidence that clearly shows that standard of living.
- Is your spouse’s income accurately reported? Since your alimony order is going to be based, in part, on your spouse’s income, you’ll need an accurate indication of what he or she makes. This might sound simple enough, but it can quickly become complicated if your spouse has multiple revenue streams or he or she owns a business. You may want to obtain your spouse’s financial records and go over them with your attorney so that you can ensure that you’re seeking an order that is proper under the circumstances.
- Was there any bad faith? Your spouse’s behavior during your marriage may also affect an award for spousal support. Therefore, it might be wise for you to have evidence of criminal conduct, infidelity, or financial manipulation if any of those issues were present during your marriage.
Remember, too, that you can seek modifications to your spousal support award as they become necessary. For example, if your former spouse gets a higher paying job or you lose your job, then you may be justified in seeking an increased amount of support.
Know how to navigate your spousal support dispute
Although you may be able to negotiate an alimony arrangement with your spouse, this isn’t always possible. But regardless of how you have to go about resolving your dispute, you need to be prepared to argue your position in a competent fashion. This means knowing the law, properly applying it to your set of circumstances, and gathering the evidence that you need to build compelling legal arguments. It’s not always an easy process, and it’s one that can be fraught with legal nuances, which is why you may find it beneficial to navigate your dispute with the help of an experienced legal professional.