August 01, 2020 Feature

A Brief Primer on Alimony

Brittany Ranson Stonestreet and Andrea Cozza

Alimony (also referred to as “spousal support” or “maintenance”) is the payment of financial support for a dependent spouse’s benefit during or after a divorce. The support could be paid by direct payment of funds to the dependent spouse or to a third party for the dependent spouse’s benefit (e.g., mortgage payment, car payment, or health insurance payment). Alimony could be paid as a result of a written agreement between the parties or by court order. State laws vary as to what information courts will rely on when awarding alimony. Most states give judges considerable flexibility (referred to as “judicial discretion”) in determining the amount and duration of alimony given the particular facts of each case. However, in limited states or counties, your judge may use a formula to calculate the alimony award. Due to the differences among states, you should always consult with an attorney in your area to find out what rules will apply in your case. The information below is intended as a general overview.

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