What Is the Meaning of Alimony? A Quick Guide

Are you going through a divorce, or trying to decide whether or not a divorce is even the right option for you at the moment?

A divorce can be traumatic. There are so many things that you and your spouse have to consider, and the legal side of things can get messy. You have to deal with separating assets, potential child support, and maybe even alimony.

But what is the meaning of alimony? Is it the same as child support? We’re here to talk about it. Keep reading for a brief alimony guide.

What Is The Meaning of Alimony?

Alimony is otherwise known as spousal support. This means that it’s money that one spouse pays the other spouse after a divorce.

This isn’t the same as separating assets. Instead, alimony is a pre-determined amount of money that is intended to help one spouse support themselves if they’re otherwise unable to do so without their former partner.

Not every divorcing couple will have to deal with alimony, but it also isn’t uncommon.

Is Alimony The Same As Child Support?

Many divorcing couples lump child support and alimony together, but this is a common misunderstanding. Regardless of whether or not you have children, alimony is still on the table (even if you’re already paying child support).

Child support is exclusively for the child. It helps the other parent take care of the child’s needs and allows the child to maintain their quality of life after the divorce.

Alimony is for the spouse. The spouse will likely use some of the money for the child, but it’s also for the general upkeep of their home and life.

When Is Alimony Necessary?

If you and your partner are choosing to mediate instead of using a lawyer, you can decide whether or not alimony is necessary (and how much). You could also talk to an alimony lawyer and use an alimony calculator to give yourself a general idea.

Most of the time, the court will decide that alimony is appropriate when one partner is dependent on the other. For example, if one partner chose to stay home and take care of children while the other was able to ascend through their career, the partner at home would be dependent.

The amount of alimony will vary. If the couple was quite well-off, the dependent would receive more money to maintain a reasonable quality of life. If not, the alimony will be less substantial.

Alimony payments aren’t intended to be permanent. When the dependent partner gets back on their feet and can support themself, the alimony can stop. It can be hard for a former stay-at-home spouse or parent to find work.

Alimony Can Be Complicated

So what is the meaning of alimony? Alimony payments are spousal support payments that allow a dependent spouse to take care of themself after divorce until they’re able to make enough money to survive.

If you’re unsure as to whether or not alimony is appropriate in your situation, talk to an attorney to get some alimony advice as soon as possible.

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