I recommend that you first read my recent blog post outlining how and when to file for child support, as virtually all of the information there applies equally well to spousal support. The main difference being that the age of the spouses has nothing to do with it… you just need to be married and in need of financial support from your spouse who has an income, usually significantly greater than yours.
One typically does not need an attorney to file for spousal support; however, if you hire a lawyer, you are likely to end up with somewhat higher payments (which could be offset by the cost of the lawyer, at least for a while). All one needs to do is go to the support office of the county court where you reside and the staff there will walk you through the process. Be sure this is done on a day when you have at least a few hours available as there may be considerable time spent waiting your turn in one or more lines.
Your spouse will have the opportunity, at a date in the very near future, to show up and oppose the support action, seeking to pay no support or as little as possible, and if your spouse has a lawyer, you really ought to try to have one too. After an Order of Court is entered specifying that support will be awarded (& the amount, of course), depending on how fast your county does things, the payments will begin being deducted from your spouse’s paychecks and sent on to you by mail or electronically. If your spouse is self-employed, your spouse will have to send regular payments to the support office. They should notify you and your spouse if payments are late or missed altogether.
The support process is very routine and simple, but it may be a little frustrating as is anything one has never done before. Just keep in mind that many, many thousands of people file for spousal and child support each year. If they can do it, rest assured that you can too.