Alimony, also known as spousal support, is nothing more than financial support provided by one individual to an ex-spouse after a legal separation, such as divorce.
Many years ago, alimony often meant that one person would pay the other for several years. In some cases, the court would even order one spouse to pay the other on a permanent basis. While these situations still come into play, it is more likely that alimony is for a limited amount of time.
As you can imagine, alimony is often a hotly contested item during the divorce process. When you add this to other details, such as property division and child custody, it's easy to see how a divorce can quickly become challenging for both individuals.
Alimony helps to limit any unfair economic effect of the divorce process. Here's an example of when alimony may be necessary. If a woman stayed at home to raise the couple's children, thus forgoing a career, she may be able to receive alimony after a divorce. This is often paid long enough for the person to develop job skills or receive an education that will allow her to earn enough money to support herself.
With child support, most states have guidelines that outline how much money one individual will pay the other. However, this is not the case with alimony. Instead, this is based on a variety of factors, including but not always limited to:
-- The age, health, and financial condition of the individuals
-- The length of time that the person will need to receive an education or develop job skills to become self-sufficient
-- The income of both individuals during the marriage
-- The length of the marriage
-- The standard of living during the marriage
-- The ability for the person paying alimony to both make payments and support him- or herself
As you can see, there is no "set" formula for calculating alimony. Instead, this is based on a variety of factors. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the court will order one person to the pay the other spousal support.
If you have reason to believe that you should receive alimony after a divorce, learn more about the laws in your state. Also, consult with an attorney who can help you develop a strategy for proving that you should receive support.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001