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Can You Get Alimony If You Never Married?

Goldberg Jones Divorce Leave a Comment

Alimony: How do you get spousal support? Who pays for it? Do you have to be married? How long does it last?

Going through a separation is stressful enough without these questions racing through your mind. In order to help with some of these concerns, we compiled a list of answers to common questions regarding spousal support.

What is Spousal Support?

Though commonly called alimony, the legal term is spousal support. At a basic level, these are payments granted to the lower-earning spouse once you finalize a divorce. Courts award this financial assistance to help the recipient maintain a similar standard of living as that enjoyed during the marriage.

Can I Receive Spousal Support If We Were Never Married?

The court only gives spousal support when you were married. This also usually only happens in longer marriages. However, while not the same financial support as receiving alimony, any children shared between both parties are entitled to child support. The court may also order continued payments for joint financial obligations, such as a shared mortgage or car payment.

Related Reading: I Work, She Doesn’t, How Does That Impact Alimony?

Who Qualifies for Spousal Support?

In order to receive alimony, the court considers a range of factors. The court considers the duration of the marriage, the ability to pay, health, the earning potential of both spouses, and more.

In Washington, spousal support generally only factors into a divorce for marriages lasting longer than four to five years. Anything less than that, the court typically considered a short-term marriage, and alimony becomes less common.

In addition, with a long marriage where both spouses earn similar incomes, the likelihood of receiving spousal support remains small. However, in a long-term marriage where one party has a low-paying job or is a stay-at-home parent with no individual income, the chance of receiving alimony increases.

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Related Reading: How Alimony Works in Washington
Related Reading: The New Tax Plan and Spousal Support: What You Need to Know

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