When a marriage is dissolved, the court can award alimony. Or, a couple might agree during the divorce process that one spouse pays child support to the other. In some cases, a marriage contract also regulates who pays maintenance and how much.
When alimony is ordered by the court or included in a negotiated divorce settlement, the paying spouse sends periodic payments to the receiving spouse on a prearranged schedule.
A maintenance order may accompany an income withholding order, which requires the paying spouse’s employer to deduct the money directly from their paycheck to remit to the other spouse.
The alimony ends upon the death of one of the spouses or upon the remarriage of the recipient (unless the court order states otherwise).
Who Receives Alimony?
Any person in a marriage can receive alimony and is not limited by gender.
Typically, the person receiving maintenance has a lower income and has limited ability to increase their income to a level that would allow them to maintain the same standard of living as they did during the marriage.
Who can be sentenced to pay alimony?
A high earner in a marriage could be ordered to pay alimony. This could be any spouse, as long as the person earns more money than the lower-income spouse.
What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?
Alimony and spousal support are essentially the same thing – there is no legal difference between them. Alimony or spousal maintenance is different from child support. While child support is designed to provide for a minor child, alimony is designed to help support an ex-spouse.