Alimony or Spousal Support is a legal obligation for an individual to provide financial support to a spouse before or after marital separation or divorce. The obligation arises from the U.S. laws that relate to divorce law (Family law). Traditionally, alimony was paid by the husband to the former wife, but since the 1970s there have been moves in many Western countries towards gender equality with a corresponding recognition that a former husband may also be entitled to alimony from his former wife.
In general, there are four types of alimony.
- Temporary alimony: Support ordered when the parties are separated prior to divorce. Also called alimony pendente lite, which is Latin, meaning, “pending the suit”.
- Rehabilitative alimony: Support given to a lesser-earning spouse for a period of time necessary to acquire work outside the home and become self-sufficient.
- Permanent alimony: Support paid to the lesser-earning spouse until the death of the payor, the death of the recipient, or the remarriage of the recipient.
- Reimbursement alimony: Support given as a reimbursement for expenses incurred by a spouse during the marriage (such as educational expenses).
See our Family Law section for more information..