10 Surprising Facts About Alimony

Alimony, despite tales to the contrary, is still available to help those in need when they divorce. Also known as spousal support, this monetary support can make a huge difference for those that have earned less than their partners. Including alimony in your divorce decree is vital, so don't let the opportunity to collect it pass you by. Read on for 10 surprising facts about alimony

1. Originally, alimony came about as a way to help even up the financial situation of spouses who had given up education and career opportunities to raise children. That motive is just as relevant today as it was in 1754 BC.

2. It's not necessary for you to be divorced to collect alimony; this provision can be included in a separation agreement that is approved prior to your divorce.

3. The issue of tying alimony awards to wrongdoing by the other spouse still exists. Some states do forbid this practice specifically, but many states continue to allow it, even those that purport to be "no fault" states.

4. All other issues being equal, the higher earner of the couple is normally the one targeted for paying the alimony, regardless of whether it's a male or a female.

5. Issues involving some aspects of your divorce are never closed, such as those involving child support, custody and visitation. The courts recognize the need for flexibility in those issues. However, if you fail to include a provision for alimony in your final agreement, you may never be able to have it ordered later on.

6. Permanent alimony is rarely ordered nowadays. Rehabilitative alimony allows the spouse to "get caught up" by attending school or other job training in an effort to make alimony a temporary form of support

7. When the need arises for permanent alimony, the paying spouse may be ordered to continue to provide support even after death, through a provision in their will. Permanent alimony may be awarded in cases where it's less likely that the receiving spouse can get a job due to age, health or a disability.

8. With a provision already in place, the amount of alimony can be adjusted as often as needed, based on the changing circumstances of both parties.

9. Alimony does not necessarily have to end with the remarriage of the receiving spouse. Often deals are agreed upon that stipulates that the alimony continues in spite of a remarriage, but with an overall lower monthly amount.

10. Alimony is considered income for the receiving spouse, unlike the money received through child support payments, and must be reported on tax returns.

Speak with your divorce attorney for more information about alimony or spousal support.