Alimony and Spousal Support

A Primer on Spousal Support

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Many questions come to mind when contemplating court determinations for alimony payments. Here is an overview to answer some questions before you ask them.

Kinds of Alimony

There is temporary alimony, which is generally ordered in between the period of time between a separation and a final divorce or permanent alimony will continue indefinitely.

Duration of Alimony

The spousal support award could be for an indefinite period of time, barring the death of the payer or payee, or a definite period of time such as four years, barring the death of either spouse.


If an ex-spouse remarries, spousal support will stop. It is generally understood that a new spouse will be providing support in place of previously established alimony.

Synonyms for Alimony

Alimony may be referred to as spousal support or maintenance in some states.

Who Pays Alimony

The overwhelming majority of alimony orders involve men making payments to women. However, in certain instances, such a man who is a stay-at-home father, while the woman is the breadwinner, the woman might be responsible for spousal support payments.

Amount of Alimony

A court will review your spouse's income and obligations along with your income and obligations. If there is a shortage, a court will determine a fair obligation.


You're entitled to a spousal support modification in cases of unemployment. A court will most likely grant the modification, so long as it determines that your job loss was involuntary and that you didn't actively attempt to lose your job to avoid paying alimony.