Are you getting divorced in Maine and considering asking for spousal support? Spousal support used to be called alimony, and was traditionally used to give housewives financial support after a divorce. Today, most judges expect husbands and wives to be able to support themselves after a divorce, so spousal support awards are more rare than in the past. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. Sometimes, a spouse may not be able to work or make enough money to support themselves after a divorce for various reasons. A judge may award spousal support in these cases. However, there are caveats. Here are two important things you need to know about spousal support in Maine.
1. Spousal Support Is Taxable
If you are awarded spousal support, the income you receive is taxable, according to DivorceNet.com. This means you will be responsible for paying taxes on it each year you receive it. Since tax isn't taken out of the spousal support before you receive it, you will need to put enough of the money aside to cover the tax, or you may be faced with a big tax bill come tax time that you can't pay.
Your ex, on the other hand, will be able to count the money they pay to you as a tax deduction. So before you ask for spousal support, ask your family law attorney how much you are likely to be awarded, and then decide if you can afford to take on the tax burden that comes with the money.
2. There Are Different Types of Spousal Support That Can Be Awarded in Maine
If you do decide to go ahead and pursue spousal support and are awarded it, the judge can award one of several different types. The type you are awarded depends on your financial circumstances and your expected future ability to support yourself without money from your ex.
The types of spousal support you could be awarded are:
General Support--This is awarded if you have significantly less earning potential than your ex. General support may be for a specified period of time or indefinitely, depending on your potential for earning more money in the future, usually based on your education.
Transitional Support--This type of support is awarded if you are only expected to need temporary support to help you get yourself re-established and back on your feet financially after a divorce. It is awarded for a limited period of time, usually based on how long it is expected for you to get a job or obtain the education you need to get a self-supporting job.
Nominal Support--This award won't give you any money right off the bat. It does, however, leave the court an opening to award monetary support in the future if it becomes apparent you need it, or if you have not re-married and find yourself in a position where you need it where you did not when the divorce was made official.
Interim Support--This is a limited type of spousal support that is only awarded while divorce proceedings are pending. It is intended to help you get established in your own household and get a job or a new job with more pay before the divorce is finalized. It is also intended to help you pay moving and other expenses associated with the divorce.
If you are awarded spousal support, many different things will be taken into consideration in determining an award. Among these are the length of your marriage, your age, your education, your health, the value of any property you own, the contributions you made as a homemaker or toward your ex's education, and your standard of living while married. Ask a family law attorney if you can reasonably expect to be awarded support, and if so, how much and what type. You will then have a better idea of whether spousal support will be beneficial to you once you're on your own.