What does Alimony mean?
Alimony is payment to one spouse for support and maintenance after a divorce. The payment can be made through on-going monthly support payments or in one lump sum payment. The term alimony is not generally used but has been replaced with the term spousal support or spousal maintenance.
Prior to awarding alimony, the courts will evaluation several factors including the ability of the paying spouse to make payments, the earning capacity of each spouse, the marketable skills of each spouse, whether one spouse has the obligation to care for small children, and the ability for each spouse to be self-supporting.
Often, if one spouse has stayed at home for the duration of the marriage, the court will make the supporting spouse pay alimony for a specific period of time, which could be months or years, to allow the other spouse time to acquire the necessary skills to go back to work. Courts will also consider if one spouse stayed home and took care of children or worked two jobs while the other spouse obtained a professional degree. In some states the courts will consider awarding alimony for the number of years the spouse worked and provided emotional and financial support to the other spouse.
The court will also review the standard of living each spouse was accustomed to during marriage, the duration of the marriage, the tax implications of paying alimony, the amount of debts each spouse has accumulated, and the amount of emotional support one spouse gave to the other. Although under some conditions spouses may collaborate to decide the amount of alimony to be paid, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.
For more information check out this article -- All About Alimony