Alimony Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Alimony, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Alimony?
n. a person who decides right or wrong in a case without any control and has arbitrating power. An arbitrator is not bound by precedent and has a great leeway in such matters as active participation in the proceedings, accepting evidence, questioning witnesses, and deciding appropriate remedies.
History and Definition of Alimony
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, refers to the financial assistance that one spouse may be required to provide to the other during or after a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to prevent one spouse from experiencing a significant decrease in income or standard of living after a divorce.
The roots of alimony can be dated back to early English common law, where a wife was considered financially dependent on her husband and he was obligated to support her. In the United States, the concept of alimony was initially used to allow women to maintain their standard of living after a divorce. Today, alimony can be awarded to either spouse based on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and their individual contributions to the marriage.
Examples of Alimony
- After a 15-year marriage, the husband was ordered to pay his ex-wife $1,000 per month in alimony for a period of five years.
- A wealthy wife was ordered to pay her unemployed husband temporary alimony while he searched for a job.
- In a high-profile divorce case, the actor was required to pay his ex-wife $50,000 per month in permanent alimony due to their lengthy marriage and significant income disparity.
- The court denied the husband's request for alimony, determining that he had the ability to earn a substantial income but had chosen not to work.
Legal Terms Similar to Alimony
- Child support: Financial assistance that one parent may be required to provide to the other for the care and upbringing of their child after a divorce or separation.
- Palimony: Similar to alimony, but specifically refers to financial support between unmarried cohabitants after the dissolution of their relationship.
- Division of property: The legal process of dividing assets and property between spouses during a divorce.
- Prenuptial agreement: An agreement made between spouses before marriage, which outlines how assets and property will be divided in the event of a divorce.
- Postnuptial agreement: An agreement made between spouses during their marriage, which outlines how assets and property will be divided in the event of a divorce.