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Alimony

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Main PageStateLawFamily law → Alimony


Main PageFamilyDivorce → Alimony


Alimony (also called maintenance (Britain), spousal support (U.S./Canada) and spousal maintenance (Australia)) is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to his or her spouse after marital separation or divorce. The obligation arises from the family law of each country. Traditionally, alimony was paid by a husband to his former wife, but since the 1970s there have been moves in many Western countries to gender equality with a corresponding recognition that a former husband may also be entitled to alimony from his former wife.

The modern concept of alimony is derived from unwritten law of England, ecclesiastical courts[wp] and Cannon law[wp] that awarded alimony in cases of separation and divorce. Alimony pendente lite was given until the divorce decree, based on the husband's duty to support the wife during a marriage that still continued. Post-divorce or permanent alimony was also based on the notion that the marriage continued, as ecclesiastical courts could only award a divorce a mensa et thora, similar to a legal separation today. As divorce did not end the marriage, the husband's duty to support his wife remained intact.

In the 1970s, the United States Supreme Court ruled against gender bias in alimony awards, and the percentage of alimony recipients who are male rose to 3.6% in 2006. In states like Massachusetts and Louisiana, the salaries of new spouses may be used in determining the alimony paid to the previous partners. Most recently, in several high profile divorces, females such as Britney Spears, Victoria Principal, and Jessica Simpson have paid multi-million dollar settlements in lieu of alimony to ex-husbands who were independently wealthy. According to lawyers, males are becoming more aggressive in the pursuit of alimony awards as the stigma associated with asking for alimony fades.


Alimony or spousal support is money paid to a housewife after divorce. The idea is that her husband promised to support her for life, and she gave up the possibility of a career in order to be a homemaker, so therefore she deserves compensation in the divorce.

One Quoran notes,

"Family law attorneys routinely advise female clients to not get a job before divorce, that has to tell you something whether there's a moral justification."[1][2]

Child support

Alimony is not child support, where, after divorce, one parent is required to contribute to the support of their children by paying money to the child's other parent or guardian. Considered a payment that a parent is making for the support of their offspring, the parent who pays child support pays the taxes. However, alimony is treated as taxable income, in most countries, to the receiving spouse, and, in most cases, deducted from the gross income of the paying spouse.

Main article: child support

English Common Law

Divorce law in the U.S. was based on English Common Law[wp], which developed at a time when a female gave up her personal property rights on marriage (see Coverture). Upon separation from marriage, the husband retained the right to the wife's property, but, in exchange, had an ongoing responsibility to support the wife after dissolution of the marriage. British law was amended by legislation including Married Women's Property Act 1870 and Married Women's Property Act 1882 which reformed females' property rights relating to marriage, by, for example, permitting divorced females to regain the property they owned before marriage.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Australia

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Spousal Support (Alimony) in Canada

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Maintenance (Alimony) in United Kingdom

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Alimony in United Staates

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Men paying alimony

Women paying alimony

References

  1. What is the modern moral basis for alimony?, quora.com on 5 Sep 2012
  2. Kings Wiki: Alimony, revision at 3 November 2016

See also

External links