What Divorcing Women Need To Know Legally About Alimony


Divorce can be a difficult process, as it can leave both parties feeling devastated, agitated or hurt. Women are primarily affected when divorce happens. Based on the National Center for Health Statistics, 50% of United States marriages end up in divorce. Women filed 80% of these divorce proceedings.

Reasons for Filing Divorce

“I want a divorce.” Women often initiate and utter these words more than men. Based on the study by Michael Rosenfeld of the How Couples Meet and Stay Together Project done from 2009 to 2015, 69% of the total number of couples who split during these periods were due to the wives’ declaration to file for divorce.


Some of the reasons why include:


1.) Marriage QualityWomen were said to be more sensitive about the relationship compared to men. During the span of the divorced couples’ years together, the quality of their marriages reportedly deteriorated. Most of the women became unsatisfied and unhappy with their lives, which made them file for divorce. Over the years, couples who were married for at least a decade often lose their connection with one another. Lack of communication, lack of intimacy and lack of equality fall into this category.


2.) Unreasonable Behavior – Surprisingly, unreasonable behavior is one of the most common reasons why married couples choose to divorce. 47% of divorces are due to the unreasonable behaviors of one or both parties. Constant arguing also falls in this category.


3.) Adultery – Adultery is engaging in sexual activities or relationship with another person other than your spouse. According to statistics, during the fifth to seventh year of marriage, there is a high chance of husbands as well as wives to have an affair. Husbands’ reason is primarily for the sex; however, emotional connection was cited to be the main reason why wives cheat.


4.) Physical or Mental Abuse – When someone in the marriage suffers abuse, it is a red flag and should be grounds for filing divorce. Physical as well as emotional abuse is present in a marriage. It is a devastating reality for those who suffer some kind of abuse in the marriage, as their relationship should be built in trust, love and equality. Parties who have been victims of abuse file for divorce because they could not take it anymore.

Other Grounds for Divorce

There are also other grounds for divorce. These include:


  • One-year separation – A voluntary one-year separation is a grounds for divorce. The courts can allow it if the married couple has been living apart from each other in a span of a year. However, if the couple lived back together, even for a short period within that year, this ground will not work. In addition, a witness must attest to the one-year separation.


  • Conviction of a crime – The crime committed must be a felony. The crime committed can be in any place or state. The conviction must be final.


  • Irreconcilable differencesIrreconcilable differences mean that the married couple cannot see any chance of working out whatever problem they have. This may also means that the breakdown of the marriage is irretrievable.


  • Permanent or incurable insanity – In order to be granted a divorce, the parties should prove three things to the court:
    • The spouse was confined in a mental health hospital or the same kind of facility,
    • The spouse has been confined in the facility for three years straight, and
    • A medical professional or expert can testify that the spouse’s mental health or insanity is incurable.


  • Desertion – Desertion or abandonment must last at least six months before the filing of the divorce. A witness should also testify to this.


  • Habitual drinking or drug abuse – In order for you to get a divorce using this ground, you have to prove to the court that your spouse is addicted to narcotics or other dangerous drugs. The addiction should happen within the marriage.


  • Neglect or abuse of a child –The abuse done to the child may be emotional, physical or sexual done by the husband or the wife. The abuse can be in the form of neglect, failure to give the child his or her necessities, physical injuries, emotional harassment and the like. The child can be:
    • The offspring of the husband and wife,
    • The wife’s child, or
    • The husband’s child.

Divorce and Alimony

Alimony is the legal obligation of a person to pay financial support to his/her spouse after the divorce. It is a form of spousal support, which aims to correct the unfair economic or financial effects of the divorce. Getting alimony may be difficult, especially when the divorce has been generated by anger or betrayal.


Many factors help determine how much alimony a spouse can get. There is no definite formula to help compute the total amount of spousal support. However, it is computed based on circumstances such as:

  • Property and income of the husband and wife,
  • Impairments in the capacity to earn,
  • Standard of living,
  • Length of marriage,
  • The number of children to be raised,
  • Each spouse’s capacity to earn, and
  • Contributions and sacrifices of one spouse for the other spouse’s education or career.


If you are earning more than your spouse, you have a chance of receiving less alimony. If there are children involved and other factors that can help you with your situation, you should be able to get a reasonable amount of alimony.


Getting alimony is done through the agreement of both parties. They will discuss how much will be paid on a monthly basis. In case of differences or non-agreement, attorney assistance is needed. If there is still no agreement despite the help of the lawyers, the court will decide on how much money a spouse should get.

Legal Process

Figuring out how much you as a divorcing woman can get for alimony may require help from an attorney. You and your spouse, together with your lawyers will sit down and discuss details such as your ability to earn, your children, standard of living and more.


Once the amount is determined, you will then compute if you will receive your alimony on a monthly basis or as a lump sum. It is also advisable to consult with a tax professional about the implications of taxes when receiving alimony, as it is counted as an income on the part of the receiver.


Negotiations take place after all the details are discussed. Both spouses, together with their lawyers, will meet with each other. Negotiation is faster compared to a court order, which is why both parties should agree during this period as much as possible. If the terms are agreed upon, both parties should sign the agreement. Otherwise, it will be discussed in court.


To file for alimony in court, as a divorcing woman, you should do the following steps:


  1. Separate from the spouse. The spouses must first be separated in order to receive alimony. A temporary alimony is received during the beginning of the separation.
  2. Gather financial information. The courts will require you to present any form of financial information to prove your financial capabilities. Documents such as bank statements, payslips, proof of rent or mortgage payments and the like are supporting documents to show your financial situation.
  3. Take it to court. You must file the alimony to the proper courts. You should file it to the court where you and your spouse are currently living.
  4. Fill out the forms. To properly file for alimony, you must find the forms that are applicable to your case. Once you are done with the forms, you can file them and pay the corresponding fees.
  5. Inform your spouse. A notice of the alimony petition as well as the divorce is needed in order to inform your spouse. However, if the both of you already signed a joint divorce petition, wait for your spouse’s reply. This will take 21 up to 30 days. Once you get a reply, wait for your court hearing date. You and your spouse will then meet in court and await a decision.


Divorce is generally difficult for everyone involved; if you’re a woman currently going through this situation, it can be helpful to not only have adequate legal support but also have a general background as to where you stand legally. Hopefully the aforementioned information will help you gauge the legal aspect of the alimony process. It still may be tough, but at least you’ll have an idea as to what to expect.

Danielle Grate

Daniel Grate is a professional writer in the law industry. She currently writes pieces on various law topics for the common reader. In her spare time she spends quality time with her family and friends.