Marriages require partners to work together for the collective benefit of each member. For example, in New York a father may decide to give up his job to stay home with the family’s children while the mother advances her career in the workforce. Though the father may be capable of working outside of the home, he and his partner may decide that everyone will be better off if he gives up his job to provide care to their children.

Because of these and other balancing needs in families, individuals may arrive at the decision to divorce with very different financial perspectives. The mother in the scenario above may have a good job and high earnings, but the father may not have any leads on employment when his marriage comes to its end. As partners make different contributions to their relationships and sacrifices to support each other, financial obligations between former spouses can endure even after divorces are finalized.

When a person is required to provide their ex with financial support after a divorce, the payments are called spousal support or alimony. Alimony can be paid in a lump sum or as periodic payments. Many factors will be evaluated when a court is asked to decide if alimony is appropriate given the circumstances of divorcing parties.

Getting spousal support from one’s ex may be a necessary step to starting over as a single person in the wake of a divorce. A knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney should be able to advise their clients on whether support is a good path to pursue and how best to secure financial help into the future.