Getting to Know Alimony Legislation

Divorce is often the last decision taken as a “couple” but its effects on the development of the parties’ lives is significant.  As a matter of fact, many people do not know the many ramifications of a divorce, beyond that of permanent separation of the spouses, child support, and splitting of properties.  That is why the word “alimony” is often lost in context.  Many of the married couples do not know the full extent of alimony requirements and effects, yet it is becoming a major twist in nowadays divorce court cases.  Why? Ignorance for once, but also a very tricky divorce legislation.

There are few strong divorce legislation that act as role models for the rest of the world, I am talking about the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.  For the purpose of clarification on the topic, this article will focus on the latter.  This does not mean that is the best in terms of alimony legislation, but it is certainly the most complex and heterogeneous in existence.  That is why the majority of the Americans do not know the specifics of alimony, which forces them to confide in alimony lawyers to solve their civil court cases.  Yet what is most surprising is that many Americans confuse “alimony” with “child support”, when in reality, child support is only a part of the alimony.

To understand the American divorce law, we have to start at the beginning.  Its origin is the English Common Law meaning that is was affect by all of its gender discrimination and male superiority conceptions.  However, what it got right is that in most cases, the male needs to fulfill its responsibility to support the female after dissolution of the marriage (without ignoring that it can be the other way around).  That is why alimony is also known as “spousal support/maintenance”.

In the US, when determining alimony for either of the spouses, the procedure is very complex.  The first thing that we must understand about this country’s legislation is that every American state has a different alimony legislation.  This means that there over 50 different perceptions of spousal support in the country.  However, all of them recognize the existence of four type of alimony: temporary which occurs when the parties are separated but not yet divorced; rehabilitative that happens when it is necessary to give support to a spouse until he/she becomes self-sufficient; permanent which involves paying the lesser-earning party until the death or remarriage of the payee; and reimbursement when alimony takes the shape of a payment for expenses suffered by a party during marriage.

Each of these types is regulated by factors such as the length of the marriage, offspring of the marriage, health, age and income of the affected spouse, and even the cause of the divorce.  These factors work as filters to decide whether the party is entitling or not to alimony.

There, if you live in the US, and foresee a potential divorce in your future or you are going through the process without professional guidance, find an alimony lawyer so you can know if you are entitled to it and how you must proceed.