Alimony is an agreement between two people who are married that enables one party to give financial assistance to the other party before, during or after the dissolution of marriage. The agreement arises under the divorce laws or family laws of every state. Alimony is not considered a tax deduction by the government and the amount may be taxable in some cases.
Alimony has been a part of divorce for many centuries. It was common practice to pay monthly alimony to the former wife of a man after the end of a marriage. The woman may have been the primary breadwinner in the family, although the man was responsible for any extra expenses incurred while raising children. Alimony payments were an alternative to paying child support.
Divorce is still not common today. People do not go through marriage ceremonies for the same reasons they did during the earlier eras of society. Many people who opt for divorce are afraid of how society will react to the separation of the couple and often, they have to take the “lesser evil” to avoid social ostracism and legal problems later in life.
Divorce cases in the past often involved children. However, the courts have started to allow children to be part of the settlement process and to participate in the decisions regarding the future of their parents.
Alimony has a long history in family law. A person filing for divorce may seek alimony as part of the divorce proceedings. In recent years, there has been an increase in the amount of alimony awarded per case and the duration of this alimony. This increase in the amount of alimony is due to the fact that women are now responsible for an increasing number of economic activities, including child care and home care. If alimony is granted to a non-spouse, the amount may be less than it would be if a spouse was awarded alimony.
The amount of alimony a person receives will vary depending on the state’s divorce laws and their individual situation. Alimony will also depend upon the length of time the marriage lasted and the length of time that each party was married. If a spouse is more mature than the other, alimony can be increased.
The state’s divorce laws and the courts’ interpretation of them are always subject to change. Alimony may be modified based on the current economic state of the recipient and the court may change the amount, duration of time it will last, and other factors depending on the situation. If the recipient is unable to pay alimony, it may be discontinued until a better arrangement can be made.
Court hearings about alimony should be scheduled only when all other attempts to settle the matter amicably have failed. The judge will not allow for more arguments than are relevant.