Although the idea of equal rights for men and women still needs work, most New Yorkers would agree that in a divorce, equality is critical. Couples want fair outcomes in all matters during a divorce. As a result, we have seen many divorcing spouses — both men and women — refuse their right to seek spousal support.

In many cases, refusing an offer of alimony is the right decision. With more marriages in which both spouses have good jobs or lucrative careers, spousal support is often unnecessary. However, in our family law practice, we have learned that many spouses come to regret not pursuing alimony.

Divorce is costly in ways that most people do not expect. If you are currently divorcing, you are already becoming familiar with the mental and emotional costs of divorce. At the same time, you may think you have a good handle on the financial side of divorce. Unfortunately, many others who felt the same way end up realizing that they lack sufficient means to continue supporting themselves.

Virtually all spouses going through a divorce should think very carefully before ruling out spousal support. Instead, sit down with your lawyer and take a thorough look at your financial situation. Will you be able to maintain a residence on your own? Do you have plans to seek training or a college degree? If so, can you pay the costs associated with furthering your education?

Alimony serves a higher purpose than it did decades ago. Today, spousal maintenance often provides a way to improve your immediate and future financial situation. Disregarding this opportunity is unwise without careful consideration.

We urge you to continue reading the information contained in our family law blog and website. This can help you determine the nature of your post-divorce financial needs now and in the future.