Alimony Helps Either Party Maintain Ability To Survive
To many, the idea of alimony is the fault of a court mandating payments made to an unworthy spouse, by as far as the law is concerned, it is the right of both spouses to maintain living at a standard to which they were accustomed, during the length of the marriage.
While in most states and provinces it is not considered a right, it is generally granted to one party to help them maintain the financial status they held during the course of the marriage.
In divorce proceeding in which fault if attributed to one spouse, the order of alimony is generally consigned to the one who was innocent of fault.
Although the payment can be ordered against either party, it is usually awarded to the wife with the amount depending on the earnings capability of both parties.
There is usually a minimum length of time for a couple to have remained married in order for this to be granted.
Many states and provinces accept the date a couple separated as the end of the marriage for the purpose of calculating alimony, while a few will not recognize separation.
Even if a couple were together for two years, for example followed by a 12-year separation, the court sees them as having been married for 14 years when calculating the amount of the payments and the length of time they will continue.
Alimony Is Not On Par With Child Support
When a couple divorces and there are minor children remaining, once custody has been established, child support is generally ordered by the court to be paid to the custodial parent by the parent who is making the most money.
It is determined the amount that is needed for proper maintenance of the children and then calculated based on the income levels of both parents to determine the fair amount to be paid by both parents as their share of the costs of supporting the children.
On the other hand, these payments can be ordered for one spouse regardless of the relative earnings of either, based on the number of years the marriage lasted, which also plays into how long the payments must be made.
Modifying any orders for these payments is rare and will require a life-altering change for a court to consider such a change.
Payments are normally considered help to one spouse or the other to help them transition from married to single life and many factors are considered by the courts in determining whether alimony is granted as well as how much and for how long.
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