Alimony, or in some states spousal support, can be generally defined as one spouse providing temporary or permanent financial support to his or her ex-spouse in order to help that ex-spouse maintain, as nearly as possible, the standard of living he or she enjoyed during marriage.
Alimony and Fault
Although virtually all of the previous obligations, duties and responsibilities that are part of being married end with the divorce, the financial obligation to the ex-spouse often continues. Most states today take the approach that alimony not be influenced by fault. For example, if a wife committed adultery which led to divorce, the adultery would not be a reason to deny alimony to her. However, in some states, the fault standard will influence any alimony decision made by the court.
There seems to be a trend towards alimony not being awarded, being awarded for short period of time and/or in smaller amounts than years past. This may be due to the fact that there are more opportunities in the workplace, generally speaking, than there has been historically. In addition, some jurisdictions are awarding more property during the property division part of a divorce instead of awarding alimony.
Alimony and Children
Furthermore, alimony may be ordered if the ex-wife has custody of children born during the marriage and the child custody amount is not sufficient to provide for the ex-wife’s and children’s well-being. In addition, alimony also serves to prevent the ex-spouse receiving support from becoming indigent and dependent upon the state for assistance.
Factors included in deciding on alimony include the court’s discretion to determine if it would be suitable under that case’s particular circumstances, the Defendant’s ability to pay, the Plaintiff’s needs, duration limits, reimbursement, fault, and how the alimony payments are to be made.
For more information on how alimony is handled in your state, please contact an attorney licensed in your state who handles matrimonial cases.