What Is Alimony?

what is alimony

If you or your spouse is seeking a divorce, one issue that may need to be addressed is alimony. These are spousal payments that are also referred to as spousal support. Understanding what alimony is and what role it plays during a divorce can better prepare you for this aspect of the divorce process.


What is Alimony?


Alimony is essentially spousal support paid from one spouse to another following a divorce. These payments are typically made when one spouse is earning much more than the other. With that being said, alimony isn’t usually paid when the marriage was brief or if the income earned by both spouses is roughly equivalent. The final amount of money that one spouse will have to pay, and the terms of this payment, are determined by a judge. However, if the divorcing spouses can come to an agreement on the terms and amounts of the payments, the judge will likely approve those arrangements.


In the event that the judge orders one spouse to pay alimony, the payments will typically have to be made once per month, usually for several years. Factors that could cause these payments to be officially put to a stop include a remarriage by the spouse who is receiving the payments, children no longer needing a full-time parent at home, and several additional factors that can be clarified by your divorce lawyer.


  • According to census figures, the overwhelming majority of people receiving spousal support are women, with only three percent of those receiving spousal support being men.
  • Alimony is meant to be gender neutral, so the option for receiving this spousal support is open to anyone who qualifies.



What You Should Expect When Receiving Alimony


If you believe that you should receive alimony from your spouse, there are a few things you can ask yourself to determine if it’s likely that you’ll receive such payments.

  • Qualifying for alimony largely depends on what your earning capacity is expected to be in the near future. If it’s expected to stay at a level substantially lower than that of your spouse’s, there’s a good chance that you’ll receive alimony.
  • The judge will consider your standard of living during the marriage, with the idea that you should be able to maintain it post divorce, and will rule in your favor if alimony is needed to supplement your income.
  • If you are granted alimony, you will likely be required to make efforts to improve your financial situation so that you can continue receiving payments for the agreed upon term. This typically involves searching for a full-time job if you currently work part-time or less.


What You Should Expect When Paying Alimony


If you’ve been ordered to pay alimony, it’s important that you make these payments on time or else risk being charged with either civil or criminal contempt of court. The penalties can be serious if you are found guilty of not fulfilling your legal obligation.



Now that you’re aware of what alimony is and what it entails, contact divorce lawyers Phoenix AZ locals have been trusting for years today so that your divorce can be handled properly and with care.


Hildebrand Law, PC  Thanks to our friends and contributors for Hildebrand Law for their insight into alimony and family divorce cases.