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The court will award financial assistance based on factors such as the duration of the marriage, each person's earning capacity, contribution to household or career, and physical health of the recipient.
Alimony may be paid in one lump sum or on a temporary or permanent basis.
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While divorce may end a marriage, it doesn't end obligations of one spouse to another.
On the other hand, alimony generally isn't awarded for short marriages or where you and your spouse earn close to the same amount.
Alimony has been the law for more than 100 years, and while it is ordered somewhat less frequently these days, there is no sign that courts are going to stop making alimony orders for good. The question of whether you qualify for alimony is usually resolved by looking at your capacity to earn -- which is not necessarily what you are earning at the time you go to court -- how much your spouse earns, and your standard of living during the marriage.
Spousal support is financial assistance that recognizes a partner's contribution to the marriage and helps the recipient achieve financial independence.
Alimony is available only to those who were legally married; and, rules vary by state.
But if you can't agree, a court will set the terms for you.
Unfortunately, having a court make the decision means there will be a trial, and that can cost you a lot of time and money. The fact you have to pay alimony to your ex-spouse doesn't amount to a finding that you are a bad person.
If you're facing a divorce, you'll have to face reality: Alimony payments -- also known in some states as "spousal support" or "maintenance" -- are alive and well in the American divorce system.