What is Alimony?

While divorce ends the union between spouses, it does not completely sever certain responsibilities one spouse might have over the other. This is particularly true for relationships where one party had been financially dependent on the other. In these cases, the more financially stable spouse is required to offer alimony or spousal support, ensuring that their partner is able to maintain a good standard of living even after the marriage dissolves.

Alimony was especially important in the past decades, when women had been traditionally expected to forgo career opportunities in order to care for their home and children. However, even as societal standards have shifted and we see marriages where both couples contribute to finances and parental duties, alimony remains a crucial requirement for certain circumstances. For example, the recent financial instability in the U.S. has caused millions of people to lose their jobs. A husband might have been laid off while his wife continues to work. In case they divorce during this time, the husband would be the one considered financially dependent between the two spouses.

The court decides how much alimony a financially stable spouse will be required to pay to support their former partner. This decision will usually be based on the income and earning opportunities of each spouse, as well as their age and current health. In some cases, the court will also consider the duration of their marriage. Based on these factors, a judge then decides on a specific type of alimony payment that the concerned spouse will have to make. Alimony can be paid temporarily, permanently, or in lump sum. In some cases, a judge will also decide on a rehabilitative alimony—a type of payment that serves to help the other spouse find a source of income and be able to support themselves.

Of course, as Arenson Law Group, PC puts it on their website, alimony and other issues involved in a divorce can be complex and difficult to determine in one’s own. It would be best to seek out qualified and experienced legal counsel to learn more about the intricate legalities that are part of such situations. Not doing so could result in further headaches that can create a generally frustrating situation.