This is a question many divorcing Sacramento couples may ask themselves this year. But what is spousal support? Who gets it and why? Read on to learn more about how spousal support becomes part of a divorce decree and why.

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is something that is awarded in cases of divorce in which there is an imbalance in earning potential, skills, education and even sacrifices throughout the marriage. It isn’t unheard of for one spouse to have most of the financial and personal success and the other to sacrifice this success to care for the family and the home. Because of this imbalance, the return to single life and a single income with little work history can be extremely challenging for one spouse.

That is where spousal support comes in. Spousal support can be awarded to either spouse and the final valuation can be based on a variety of factors. Length of the marriage can play a role, as can many other factors. The amount will be determined based on many factors, including: age, physical condition, emotional state and financial condition of the former spouses.

Other aspects, like the length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient and the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, are also assessed and calibrated. Not every divorce will include terms about spousal support or alimony in a divorce decree. However, if you suspect that there are financial imbalances between you and your divorcing spouse, consider that it could be included.