What is Alimony?

Alimony is the legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to their spouse before or after marital separation or divorce. Alimony has been established to help provide the lower-income spouse with enough support so that they can maintain their standard of living that they have grown accustomed to throughout the marriage. 

Alimony and spousal support mean the same thing. Despite popular belief, it’s not always the husband who is paying alimony to wife in a divorce. An ex-husband can also receive alimony from his ex-wife. Alimony is given when there is a big gap in earnings between spouses and spouses who have been married for a long time. There is a lot to consider when it comes to alimony and how it is calculated. 

Calculating alimony can become complicated. The judge in the case will assess and take into consideration a variety of factors when awarding alimony such as the earning income of both parties involved and which spouse has the financial ability to pay alimony. The spouse receiving alimony will need to demonstrate the need for alimony such as having primary care of children.

The idea behind alimony is so that both divorcing spouses will be able to enjoy a lifestyle that’s similar to the one that was shared during the long-term marriage. If your annual salary is $20,000 and your soon to be ex earns $120,000 a year. You have grown comfortably sharing a six-figure income while married. Alimony makes it so that you don’t have to downgrade your lifestyle because you are now divorced. 

Alimony is often paid for a set period of time or it can be permanent. Either spouse reserves the right to go back to court at any time to ask tha ta permanent alimony order to be reversed or vacated because circumstances have changed. Those circumstances will need to be proven. Oftentimes, the alimony could be reduced. Alimony can be paid in one lump sum or once a year. It can also be paid monthly or even weekly. Courts typically order alimony for a marriage that’s lasted more than 20 years. 

If you believe that you deserve alimony from your ex-spouse you will need to provide the court with facts to support that decision. These facts can vary by state, which is why speaking with a family law lawyer in your state could provide you with definite answers to your questions involving alimony.


There are a lot more things to be concerned about when discussing a family law issue so speaking with a family lawyer Tampa FL from a law firm like The McKinney Law Group.

If you have questions about a prenup agreement or a postnup agreement or require legal assistance in other areas of Family Law you may always contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected].

We now offer virtual prenuptial agreements. Contact us to inquire further about our virtual prenup option.