Marriage is supposed to be a life-long union and expression of commitment between a man and a woman and these are what many, who enter into marriage, believe. These are the very factors that give sense to the phrase, “til death do us part.”

Sadly, not all marriages turn out to be beds of roses as some couples eventually lose the affection or end up having interests that slowly carry them away from their spouse and family. To be able to move forward and pursue the happiness they seek, some file a case of divorce, ending completely their union.

Now, many or those who marry give up their profession or career to be able to take full care of family matters (this practice is common among women in support of their husband). In the event of divorce, however, those who have sacrificed education or professional growth usually find it hard to keep up with the present business trend or even find an employment that will allow them to enjoy the standard of living which they enjoyed prior to divorce. Thus, the court awards these individuals alimony or spousal support, which the financially-capable spouse will have to pay to them monthly or lump sum – so long as both are alive or until a major change in the circumstances of each (such as loss of job of payor or re-marriage).

Alimony is a court-ordered payment which a spouse will have to make to his/her partner after they divorce. This centuries-old practice is somehow rooted from the idea that upon marriage, a woman would remain dependent on her husband until death. Thus, through alimony, financial support is provided for whoever, though usually the wife, was financially-dependent during marriage. Despite differences on alimony laws between states, means or types of payment are generally the same:

  • Lump sum. This is a single, complete payment of alimony. The amount is equal to the total amount of future payments, which may include property division.
  • Permanent alimony. This is a continuous, regular payment without a fixed end date; it goes on so long as the recipient has not died or remarried and as long as the payor is alive. Permanent alimony is actually intended to enable the recipient spouse to maintain his/her standard of living that he/she enjoyed during the marriage.
  • Temporary or rehabilitative alimony. This financial support payed to whoever between the spouses has a lesser earning; this support, however, ends when the recipient lands a job or becomes self-sufficient.

In 2012, some states have begun to reconsider their laws on permanent alimony. This is due to the fact that there are those who have been making this type payment for decades despite a very short marriage, while on the part of the recipient, many have lived with new partners, but never re-married, in order to enjoy receipt of support.

Other reasons for the reconsideration include the harm which payment of permanent alimony has made on the financial situation of some of the payee, the equal opportunity the payee has to education, training and chance to find a high-paying job, and the opportunity of the payee to earn even more than the payor.

As explained in the website of the law firm BB Attorney, “Alimony payments are designed to help spouses adjust to their changing financial situations during and sometimes after divorce. Although these payments can be permanent, most of the time they are only temporary. Temporary alimony is alimony that is only paid during the divorce proceedings and sometimes for a short time thereafter, allowing the receiving spouse to get used to a new level of income. In most cases, temporary alimony payments cease after a period of time in which the court believes the receiving spouse should have located a new source of income or financial support.

Temporary alimony payments can be used for a variety of purposes, but in general, they help provide for the financially dependent spouse while he or she finds a job and adjusts to his or her new income level. Alimony payments can be used for the following:

  • Basic living expenses
  • Vehicle payments
  • Medical and educational costs
  • Divorce fees

Divorce can mark a number of changes to a person’s living situation, and alimony payments help provide financial stability during this transitional period. Thus, it is important that a temporary alimony agreement is as fair as possible for both the receiving and the paying spouses.”

With assistance from an experienced alimony lawyer, you may be able to know and understand better whether you will be paying spousal support or receiving alimony, so do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced alimony lawyer even before you decide to file for divorce.