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What alimony is and when it is awarded

Alimony is traditionally thought of as a major bone of contention for divorcing couples. Although it is not awarded as often as many people think, it is still a thing, and Florida couples may find that alimony is an issue in their divorce. This blog post will provide some basic information about alimony, what it is and how it is awarded. More in-depth questions can be addressed by a family law attorney.

Alimony consists of support payments paid by one spouse to the other as part of a divorce decree. The point of alimony is to ameliorate any unfair financial effects of a divorce through payments to a spouse with a lower level of income from the spouse with a higher level of income. Historically, husbands often paid alimony to their former wives; these days, a wife could instead be ordered to pay alimony to her former husband depending on the circumstances.

The concept of fairness was touched on above. How does fairness enter into the decision to award alimony? Very often, one spouse will sacrifice their career to benefit the other spouse or the family generally. One spouse might work a menial job while the other attends graduate school, for example, or one spouse might quit work altogether to care for children. If a divorce later happens, it might be determined to be fair for the spouse who benefited to pay alimony to the spouse who made sacrifices, depending on the specific circumstances.

These days, the awarding of permanent alimony is less common than it used to be. Usually, alimony is thought of as rehabilitative in nature. In other words, the point of alimony is usually to rehabilitate the financial position of the receiving spouse. This allows that spouse to pursue educational and other endeavors to permit them to increase their earning capacity.

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