One of the biggest considerations one has before, during and after a divorce is finances. For spouses where both work, finances may be a bit easier. But, for spouses who do not work, they may not think they have options, especially when the other spouse, the sole-income earner, controls all of the accounts. After all, if they are currently not working, and they get a divorce, how will they live? Never fear though, spousal support or alimony can help.

During the divorce, family courts may award alimony. This is done before the divorce is finalized, but it must be asked for prior to finalization. If neither spouse requests it, once the divorce is finalized, neither spouse can go back to the court to seek it later. This is the rule in Maryland.

The courts’ goal for alimony is to help the spouses that needs it become self-supporting, like the non-working spouse. To that end, there are three types of alimony the courts can award. First, is pendente lite. This is temporary alimony for the purpose of maintaining the status quo. This is granted during the divorce process, and it can continue after the final divorce order, but there is no guarantee.

Second is rehabilitative alimony. The purpose of this type of alimony is to help the non-working spouse become self-supporting by getting an education or training.

The final time of alimony is indefinite alimony. This is awarded when a spouse cannot reasonably become self-supporting. This is usually awarded because of a disability or infirmity, illness, or age.

The key here is to know that just because one does not have income or access to the family assets, the family finances are just that, family property. Income earned during the marriage, even if only earned by one spouse belongs to the family, and just because one is not working does not mean they will be left destitute during and after a divorce. They key is to contact a professional to help navigate the system to get one’s fair share.