The Issue of Alimony after Divorce

The Issue of Alimony after Divorce

Alimony or spousal support is one spouse’s lawful obligation to give monetary support to his/her former partner after separation or divorce. Formerly, spousal support consisted in the husband paying his former spouse. Modern day practice, however, has given way to gender parity, so that the support is now supposed to be provided by whoever has financial strength and stability. This payment is to make sure that the dependent spouse will continue to enjoy the standard of living that he/she enjoyed before the divorce. This is true, especially if one spouse gave up all chances for professional and economic growth for the sake of his/her partner and their family.

In the past, women were the usual recipients of alimony since it was them who were often required (under societal standards) to cease work and care for the home after marriage. Providing for her and for the rest of the family was, of course, the duty of her husband.

Life’s circumstances, however, have greatly changed, and two of these changes are, first, the greater opportunity of more women to land in higher paying jobs and, second, more men ending up without a job or with lower pay.

Alimony is a court-mandated monetary payment that one spouse should make to his/her former partner; it is also known under the names spousal support or spousal maintenance. When making decisions on the issue of alimony, courts usually consider the following factors:

  • earning capability of both spouses;
  • age and health of the spouses;
  • earned and potential income, and assets of both spouses; and,
  • duration of the marriage

An article found at, says, “alimony will only be awarded under fairly specific circumstances that are associated with the financial circumstances of both former spouses following the divorce. When former spouses fail to provide the alimony they have been ordered to pay, they may be taken back to court to enforce the terms of their alimony agreement. Though it may be difficult to take your former spouse to court, this may be the only way to get the alimony payments that the court itself determined that you were in need of at the time of your divorce.

In the event that the financial circumstances of either former spouse changes after the divorce, it may be necessary to modify the spousal support obligation to reflect their new financial circumstances. In more practical terms, a spousal support obligation may be modified if certain things occur such as the receiving spouse getting remarried or getting a new job that pays enough income to adequately provide for their basic needs or if the paying spouse losses his or her job or is no long able to earn income for some reason.”

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