Alimony theory is designed to limit unfair financial effects of divorce. A consistent income is provided to low or no salary earning spouse. A part of explanation is to defend the spouse, who chose to give up a career for family support and needs time for developing skills to support her or himself.

The other purpose can be to help the spouse continue living in the same way he/she had during marriage.

Are you entitled for alimony or spousal support?

Primary two factors will be considered –

  1. Do you have financial need?
  2. Is your spouse capable to pay you?

Other information the court will need for determining your entitlement to alimony and spousal support are given below.

  • Financial information like your income, living expense, and your spouse’s salary
  • Health and age [spousal support is for limited term but you can get permanent spousal support because court feels it due to on-going medical condition and age]
  • Education and employment information
  • Marriage length [long term marital relationship can allow you to get life-time spousal support, especially if your spouse is earns more and capable to meet the financial needs.
  • Bad abusive behaviour [This has affected earning power of requesting spouse can be awarded spousal support]

There are many such aspects, which the judge will take into consideration, while determining the alimony amount.

How alimony amount gets determined?

According to the Uniform Marriage & Divorce Act, the courts need to follow spousal support statutes. Factors recommended to consider are –

  • Age, emotional state, financial status, and physical condition of both partners
  • Duration needed for recipient for becoming self-sufficient
  • Marriage duration
  • Payer spouse’s ability to support both recipient spouse and him or herself
  • Standard of living of the couple, while they were in marriage

What happens if the payer spouse does not comply with alimony orders?

Alimony amount is hard to determine, but it is even harder to gauge, if the payer spouse will obey the support order. Unlike child support enforcement there is no mechanism for alimony enforcement. The recipient spouse can come back to court for contempt proceeding for forceful payment, As alimony order is given by court the mechanism to enforce it is available from the court.

What is the duration for alimony payment?

Alimony is considered as ‘rehabilitative’.

  • It means as long as recipient spouse gets trained and becomes self supporting, alimony has to be paid.
  • In case, spousal support termination date is not specified in the divorce decree then the payment needs to be made steadily till court orders otherwise.
  • If the recipient spouse re-marries the support order ends.
  • If the payer spouse dies and the recipient spouse is unable to get productive employment because of medical condition or age then the court will order life time support from payer’s life insurance or estate proceeds.

Today, marriages include both partners working. The trend of men paying their women spousal support is getting obsolete. An alimony payment order from the ex-wife to the ex-husband is increasing.