Home Opinion Your Complete Online Guide to Alimony and How It Works

Your Complete Online Guide to Alimony and How It Works


The purpose of awarded alimony in a divorce is to provide financial support to an ex-spouse after the marriage has officially ended, it is also sometimes referred to as spousal support.

Here is an overview of what alimony is and a look at various different scenarios where alimony is awarded and what it means to both parties in the transaction.

It could start with a temporary arrangement

If you have decided to get a divorce or have started the process, the conversation is soon likely to turn to alimony.

It would normally be highly advisable to get some professional help and guidance in a divorce situation and as you may well discover when you talk to someone like Harris, Hunt & Derr, for example, there is the chance that temporary alimony could be awarded.

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As the name implies, temporary alimony can be granted while the divorce proceedings are in progress as a way of sorting out financial arrangements before the split becomes legally binding.

It should be understood that the amount awarded under a temporary alimony arrangement could be lower or higher than the alimony amount awarded in the final order.

Reaching an agreement

You and your spouse could reach an amicable settlement figure for your divorce and if you both reach an agreement on alimony you could ask the judge to make it official.

If you can’t agree on alimony payments, the judge will then have to make a decision and decide if you are entitled to the money.

Changing your mind at a later date

It is possible that you decide you don’t want alimony when you divorce but subsequently change your mind at a later date or when your circumstances change.

You can only request alimony during your divorce proceedings and won’t be able to request any monies once the divorce is finalized.

Make sure you bear this in mind as alimony is a one time deal that needs to be negotiated at the point you decide to divorce.

When both parties take a different view

It is not unusual for a divorcing couple to take opposing views, of course, and it can often be the case that one of you thinks that alimony is not justified or not affordable in your circumstances.

The judge will consider the circumstances of both parties and make a decision regarding an alimony award.

Length of time

Another key question is how long the alimony payments will go on for.

You could agree a time period between yourself but if that is not possible the judge will decide what sort of award and time period is appropriate.

There are various types of alimony awards in this respect. Indefinite alimony could last until the death of the spouse, and time-limited alimony will only last for a specified period of time, to allow for someone to become self-supporting, for instance.

Not set in stone

Even when alimony is awarded there is often the potential to get the details amended or nullified at a later date.

You can seek a modification of the alimony agreement by filing for a motion.

This would be something that would normally be discussed with a professional before going ahead with filing the documents so that you can clarify your options and chances beforehand.

If you are going to get divorced it is essential that you get an idea of what alimony is and how it can affect your financial future.