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Alimony: What Does It Mean?


When a couple divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony, or spousal support, to the other. Alimony payments are intended to help the receiving spouse maintain his or her standard of living after the divorce. The amount and duration of payments will vary depending on the circumstances of each case. In this blog post, we will discuss how it is determined in the United States and some of the factors that courts consider when making alimony decisions.

Can a spouse reject to pay alimony?

A spouse cannot unilaterally reject to pay it. If the paying spouse does not want to continue making payments, they must file for a modification of the alimony order with the court. The court will then decide whether or not to reduce or terminate the payments.

If you are in this situation and would like more information, please contact a family law attorney in your area.

What Is Alimony? How Does It Work?


Alimony is a payment from one spouse to another following a divorce. It is intended to help the lower-income spouse maintain a reasonable standard of living following the divorce. The amount of it and its duration are determined by a number of factors, including the couple’s income, expenses, and assets.

It is determined differently in each state within the United States. Judges in some jurisdictions, including Texas, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Kentucky, and Maine are advised by law to follow specific standards when determining the amounts and/or durations. In Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee, for example, it is awarded only in cases of marriage or civil union of ten years or longer and the payments are limited to three years unless there are special, extenuating circumstances. The court will also calculate the amount of spousal support based on the payee’s gross income, rather than his or her net income. The amount of spousal support is limited to $2,500 a month or 40% of the payee’s gross income.

In marriages of less than 10 years in Delaware, spousal support is rarely given. In Kansas, the payments are limited to 121 months. In Utah, it can last no more than the length of the marriage. In Maine, Mississippi, and Tennessee, it is given in marriages or civil unions lasting ten to twenty years and the length is half that of the marriage unless extraordinary circumstances occur. Other states, such as California, Nevada, and New York, have statutes that are rather vague. They merely detail the “considerations” a judge should think about when determining the payment.

There are 4 types of alimony in the United States. These are:

  • Temporary alimony: Support ordered when the couple are seperated but not divorced yet. The case is still ongoing. It is also known as pendente lite, which is Latin for “pending the suit.”
  • Rehabilitative alimony: The lesser-earning spouse is supported for a period of time in order to get work outside the home and become self-sufficient.
  • Permanent alimony: The support is paid to the lower-earning spouse until the death of the payor, the recipient’s death, or his or her remarriage.
  • Reimbursement alimony: Support given as a return for expenses incurred by a spouse throughout the relationship (such as educational costs).

Prenuptial Agreements and Alimony

A prenup is a legal agreement that spells out the terms of your divorce, including how much money each spouse will receive when they get divorced and whether or not there will be any children from the marriage who will receive child support payments. It’s important to have this agreement in writing so that it can’t be undone by either party after you sign it – but before you commit yourself to anything, make sure you read through all of its clauses thoroughly and discuss them with an attorney if necessary.

The jurisdiction has the right to reject a prenuptial agreement’s terms restricting alimony if the party seeking it would have to seek public assistance as a result of the alimony waiver, or if the restriction on gaining access to alimony is unjust when the divorce occurs. A lack of financial transparency on the part of the payor prior to signing a prenuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement might also invalidate a waiver of alimony provision. Prenuptial agreements with valid alimony waivers or limits that are entered into in one state should be fully enforceable by the courts of another state in the event of a divorce, unless the terms of the prenuptial agreement are in substantial violation of foreign law.

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