An Overview on Alimony Payments

The decision to award alimony is dependant on the financial circumstances of both parties in the divorce and is not awarded in every divorce. When alimony is awarded, it is unlikely that it ill be set indefinitely. Here is a general guide to alimony and what you can expect whether you are seeking it or responsible for paying it.

Alimony’s Purpose

Alimony is supposed to limit the financial strain of a divorce on the lower-earning spouse so that the spouse can continue to live at the same or similar standard at the time of marriage. One reason alimony may be awarded is if a spouse decided to be a homemaker rather than pursue a career. That spouse then may need time to learn a skill or pursue job avenues to sustain themselves.

The courts will examine all the factors of a case to determine the amount and how long the payments will last. They will also expect the alimony recipient to make progress in reentering the workforce and not abuse the financial payments for a period of time that was longer than necessary.

Determining the Amounts

Child support is determined by certain guidelines depending on the state, but alimony is scrutinized much more before being determined and awarded. Most states follow the guidelines of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, it recommends that the court use the following list as a reference when making a decision:

  1. Each spouse’s income and opportunity for employment.
  2. How long the marriage lasted.
  3. Misconduct, including allegations of abuse or adultery.  
  4. The well-being of the children, if any,at the time of the divorce and as predicted in the future.  
  5. Standard of living before the divorce

Women Aren’t the Only Alimony Recipients

Often people assume alimony is paid to the ex-wife from the ex-husband, but that isn’t always true. It is common for men to take time off from their career to raise the children when the wife makes more money. If you are in this situation, you may be able to collect alimony before re-engaging with your career.

How Long Will You have to Pay Alimony?

Sometimes alimony is called “rehabilitative.” That means that it lasts only as long as it is needed. If there is no deadline in place noted in the divorce decree, then the payments will continue as long as the court allows.

If you are seeking alimony, an extension or the end of payments, it is crucial to consult an experienced Tampa FL divorce lawyer. They can advise you on your rights as well as determine a fair amount and period of time for you to receive or pay alimony. A lawyer can help save your livelihood and help you take care of your family after a divorce.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the McKinney Law Group for their insight into divorce.