Spousal Support and Alimony

Navigating finances after divorces can be a confusing and painful time for everybody involved. There is much legal jargon to sift through and understand and sometimes things are not clearly explained or well defined. Adding this to the pressure of separating in the first place then it can be a difficult time for someone to go through, especially as there is so much to do and sort out when pursuing a divorce. The stress of the finances can almost be too much, especially if nothing has been clearly explained. There are many different terms such as alimony, spousal support and even spousal maintenance. It can be hard to figure out what everything means and to figure out what you owe to your partner and what they owe to you. However, to be put simply, alimony, spousal support and spousal maintenance are all catchment terms that refer to money that is ordered to be paid to the estranged partner during divorce. But, to make things, confusing, there are actually different categories of alimony and spousal maintenance that need to be defined and researched during and maybe even before the divorce proceedings.


So what is alimony and spousal support as well as spousal maintenance?

Alimony is what is paid by one ex partner to the other in the midst of the divorce proceedings themselves – this is determined by the partner who makes the most money at the time of the separation, it does not depend on genders or anything else within the marriage, as many people think. However, the roles played by each spouse within the marriage are taken into consideration. Alimony is what it used to be called but now it is commonly referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support – this is where people can become confused by all the different terms: the simple fact is that spousal support, alimony and spousal maintenance all mean the same thing. But as mentioned earlier, there are different categories to alimony that can also cause confusion regarding the terms and legalities about the finances.

What are the different categories of alimony and how do they work?

The first type of alimony to research is permanent alimony. Much like the title suggests, the alimony or the spousal support money will be paid to the ex spouse in consideration until the person paying it dies, or until the recipient dies. In some situations, remarriage will not stop the payments of alimony, but sometimes it will depend on the financial circumstances of the recipient during the time of the new marriage and before the new marriage as well. Life time alimony will also be awarded if the recipient has a disability that means they are unable to work.

Another type is temporary alimony. This is a series of payments from one spouse to the other over a specific span of time. It is granted if the divorce proceedings themselves are a struggle financially for one half of the couple – they will be given temporary payment.

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