When couples head towards divorce, they often wonder how they are going to build a new life, separate from all that they are leaving behind. In marriage, everything was intertwined, including finances, and this can be a rather worrisome point, especially if one spouse was a stay at home parent. This is where alimony comes in.

What is Alimony?

Alimony is a legal obligation to provide financial support to your spouse after divorce. In most cases, a former spouse will pay alimony because the court orders them to. This is often the case if one spouse was employed and the other was not, or if one party can make a financial claim upon the other. Alimony is also called spousal support.

What’s the Purpose of Alimony?

There are a few different reasons that a court might order alimony. When a spouse gives up working for whatever reason during the marriage, a divorce might have a drastic economic impact. One purpose of alimony is to ease this financial burden. Alimony might allow the spouse to pursue a degree or career training or just make a transition to a new lifestyle. The goal of most alimony payments is to keep a former spouse from becoming reliant on the government for the support that their ex provided, assuming that support is reasonable.

How Long Do You Pay Alimony?

In most cases, you only pay alimony for a limited period of time. This is usually the case when the former spouse receiving alimony is trying to find new work. The longer the marriage and time away from work, the longer the court will order alimony to be paid. In these cases, alimony can last anywhere from one year to ten years.

A court may order alimony when a spouse isn’t able to get a new job because of circumstances outside of their control that occur before the divorce. This often occurs in a partner has a disease or disability that prevents them from earning money that occurred before the divorce. If the couple is nearing retirement age and the spouse who has not been working may not be able to find work, the other spouse may be ordered to pay alimony for retirement.

How Much Do You Pay?

The amount of an alimony payment depends on the needs of the receiving spouse and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. It also depends on the laws in the state where you divorce. In some cases, alimony is just enough to meet your basic needs. In other cases, it’s enough to pay tuition or enjoy a lifestyle similar to the lifestyle during the marriage. Negotiating the terms for alimony can be difficult, so if your divorce involves an alimony claim, make sure you get a lawyer who has experience with alimony claims.

Wrap Up

Alimony can be a controversial thing, but it is a fact of the divorce process. If you need alimony, you can request it in your court papers. Ultimately, these payments exist to help you get back on your feet and build your new life.

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