Alimony is a spouse’s court ordered obligation to pay the other spouse financial support after a separation or divorce. Alimony, when awarded, is paid by the spouse with the larger income in order to support the other spouse, either in one lump sum or on a continuing basis.

Dependent spouse vs. supporting spouse
Generally speaking, the spouse with the lesser income is considered the dependent spouse, and the one with the larger income is considered the supporting spouse.

While most people are familiar with the wife receiving alimony, that’s not always the case. It’s becoming more common these days for the former wife to pay the husband alimony.

How much alimony is usually paid?
The amount awarded to the dependent spouse can vary greatly among former couples. There is no standard amount that is to be paid, and the individual circumstances including the income of the supporting spouse, will always determine the final dollar amount received by the dependent spouse.

When alimony is not required to be awarded
If the dependent spouse has committed acts of illicit sexual behavior, the courts do not have to award alimony. This is because such acts are a violation of the contract of their marriage. An exception to this rule is if both parties have committed illicit sexual behavior. In which case, it is up to the courts to determine whether they will award alimony or not.

Contact an experienced attorney to create an alimony agreement
While it’s possible to come to an alimony agreement without a court ruling, it’s much better to hire a skilled attorney in order to make the process smooth and fair. It’s unlikely that a contractual agreement between two former spouses will be taken seriously if the supporting spouse decides they do not want to pay alimony any longer.

However, with a court ruling and a lawyer to fall back on, the agreement will be taken more seriously and the supporting spouse will be less likely to try to back out of the agreement.

Hiring a lawyer may get you a higher alimony payment
Also, the supporting spouse may have more income than the dependent spouse is aware of, and they may try to get away with paying the bare minimum, often a small amount of money that doesn’t really cover much for the dependent spouse. For this reason, if you’re going through a divorce and are likely to be the dependent spouse, you’ll want to contact an attorney to help you get your fair amount of financial support.