Alimony or “maintenance” payments used to be quite popular back in the day when the majority of women stayed home and raised kids while their husbands worked. These women had either no salary or a low part time job salary and when they divorced they were paid alimony from their husbands to keep up the life style they were accustomed to, and it only seemed fair since they had not built up a career in order to raise the kids.
These days things are a tad different, OK they are totally different. The majority of families in the US now have two working parents and the man isn’t even always the main bread winner any more, hail Rosie the Riveter! Anyway, it’s becoming less and less common for Alimony to be awarded in a divorce.
Unlike the rules of child support, the rules on alimony are less set in stone and more up to a judge’s opinion. The factors that will be considered in an alimony hearing are; the length of the marriage, the salaries of the spouses, whether one spouse sacrificed to bolster the career of the other, whether one party was at fault for the divorce, and many other things. If you make a few thousand dollars more a year than your spouse, don’t worry, simply making more money than the other person does not automatically mean you will be dishing out alimony.
There are also several different types of alimony payments. You could be paying monthly, or in one lump sum. Sometimes the alimony is permanent (until someone dies or gets remarried) and other times the alimony arrangement is temporary and designed more to get one spouse on their feet.
Child support and alimony are two completely separate issues. Child support is way more common that alimony now and if children are involved typically any payments that are being given out are for child support. In either case, it is usually best left up to a judge or a mediator to help reach a fair and equitable payment structure for alimony.