What is Alimony and Spousal Support?

Alimony refers to payments made by one spouse to another spouse during the divorce process and after divorce. Today, it is more often referred to as spousal support. Spousal support is awarded by a judge to insure that dependent spouses can maintain the same standard of living to which they became accustomed during their marriage.

Support payments can be made either periodically (usually monthly) or in a lump sum payment. They can be awarded for a specific period of time or in the form of permanent alimony which is paid until one of the following happens:

  1. Death of the supporting spouse
  2. Death of the dependent spouse
  3. Re-marriage of the dependent spouse
  4. Cohabitation of the dependent spouse

The occurrence of any of these events will stop the payment of alimony even if ordered for as permanent alimony.