Alimony, Maintenance, Spousal Support

U.S. Divorce Law Center

Alimony, Maintenance and Spousal Support Laws in the U.S. Copyright

Alimony, Maintenance, Spousal Support

Alimony, Maintenance, or Spousal Support is money paid from one spouse to the other for the purpose of supporting the spouse with fewer financial resources. A court awards support on the basis of one spouseís need or entitlement and the other spouseís ability to pay.

Long term alimony is becoming less common with the advent and increasingly common instance of two income earners in a marriage. In todayís society, it is now far less common for one spouse to be completely financially dependent on another spouse.

Rehabilitative Support

The most common type of spousal support awarded is rehabilitative support, which is awarded for a finite period to allow the spouse with fewer financial resources to adjust and establish him/herself; perhaps by obtaining an education or job training, or returning to school to complete a degree, in order to become self-supporting.

This type of support is designed to make up for the disadvantage experienced by a spouse who may have left a job or didnít pursue a career in order to help the other spouseís career or to raise children and assume family duties. Rehabilitative support is typically only awarded for up to five years.

Some of the typical criteria courts use when considering rehabilitative alimony include the following:
  • Length of the marriage;
  • Age of recipient spouse;
  • Earning capabilities of recipient spouse;
  • Length of recipient spouseís absence from job market; and
  • Time and expense necessary to educate and train recipient spouse.
Some courts also require an outline of the steps the spouse requesting support will take to achieve self-sufficiency.

Permanent Support

Although far less common, in certain situations, permanent or long-term support is still awarded. If a spouse is unable to become self-supporting due to age, health or disability, a court may award permanent support. When considering this type of support, courts often review the same factors applied when dividing property.

This type of support can end if the recipient spouse remarries or cohabitates. It may also be modified if there is an applicable change in circumstances.

Alimony, Maintenance and Spousal Support Laws by State

Laws related to awarding support to one spouse by the other and determining the type, amount and length of time of the award vary from state to state. The following links provide general overviews of individual states' spousal support laws.

Alimony Articles

  • Prenuptial and Antenuptial Agreements in Minnesota
    Retaining an experienced attorney is important part of negotiating, drafting and reviewing prenuptial contracts. Costly errors are not easily remedied, if they can be remedied at all.
  • Divorce Papers Via Facebook
    Courts across the United States are increasingly allowing divorce papers (and other legal papers) to be served through social media sites.
  • Two Types of Alimony in Maryland
    In the state of Maryland, married couples have a financial responsibility to each other. The law says that one spouse has to support the other financially and vice versa.
  • Falling on Your Sword: Better Known as the Uncontested Divorce
    When things go bad in a marriage and divorce seems to be the only option, many people want to make it happen as fast as possible. In the heat of the moment they agree to things that may not be fair to them or demand unfair concessions from their partner. The future, with all of it's possibilities and uncertainty, is not thought of in the rush to push the divorce through as quickly and cheaply as possible as an uncontested divorce.
  • How a Private Investigator Can Prove Infidelity in a Divorce Case
    If a spouse suspects his or her partner of cheating, a private investigator may be hired to help confirm this information.
  • Using Surveillance for Divorce and Infidelity Cases
    One common reason why private investigators are contacted is to confirm whether or not a spouse or partner is cheating. This information can be used for a number of reasons. Private investigators often have useful tools at their disposal to aid in finding out this critical information.
  • Spousal Support (Alimony) Is Alive and Well in West Palm Beach, Florida
    Spousal support in West Palm Beach, sometimes referred to as Palm Beach alimony support is best addressed by an experienced Family Law attorney. This is true whatever your county of residence is. There are many in and outs in helping a party receive or have to pay out in the game of spousal support and it takes a professional to win the game.
  • Alimony: Changes in Spousal Maintenance: Cohabitation or Remarriage in Minnesota
    Changes in Minnesota's Spousal Maintenance law may affect those who cohabitate.†
  • How to Qualify for Permanent Alimony in New Jersey
    The concept of alimony has been a hot button issue in the state of New Jersey for years. And though itís been modified in recent years itís sure to be a pressing topic for future generations as well.
  • Cape May County Guidelines - Custody & Support
    Some families are blessed with children who are extraordinary and incredibly talented. What happens if youíre raising the next Carli Lloyd or Derek Jeter? There is no question that with extreme talent comes increased expenses in the form of supplies, lessons, travel, and practice. In the event of a divorce who would be responsible for paying all of these costs? While exploring case history, we also explore the guidelines specific to Cape May County in order to uncover these answers.

Contact a Lawyer

Find a Local Lawyer